Newsdesk THE Palma city budget for next year, at just under 794 million euros, is 39 per cent more than this year's and for the first time, it covers a section of 30 million euros to compensate for the cost of being the capital of the region.

Another new section is 3.3 million euros to subsidise school books (see above).
The budget was presented yesterday by Mayor Catalina Cirer, accompanied by councillors Pedro Alvarez and Rogelio Araujo, heads of the finance and education departments respectively.

The Mayor stressed that the budget was “tailored to the needs of residents,” and underlined the efforts that had been made in improveing citizen security and cleaning.

Alvarez said that the budget represented “the biggest growth in the council's history” but pointed out that it would not cause a marked increase in taxes.

Nor will it mean an increase in council debt, which has been stable since 1995 and is estimated at 128 million euros for next year.
He added that the debt level had been maintained thanks to “the council's stable policy” which has improved tax collection, which is now more efficient.

The biggest slice of the budget (98.5 million euros) is for staffing costs, up by six per cent. But the department which has seen the biggest increase in its budget (251 per cent) is sports and youth, to be used mainly for building and maintaining new sports centres.

The bus company's budget is 20.3 million euros, which will allow for the purchase of 20 new buses and contracting 70 more drivers, thanks to which the schedules will be extended to 11pm.

In the field of security, seven to eight clerks will be contracted for administrative work currently done by police officers, which will leave 20 to 30 officers free to patrol the streets.

The budget will be presented to the opposition groups next week and debated in the first week in November.