TOWN councils in Calvia, Llucmajor, Marratxi and Manacor have an accumulated debt to the Council of Majorca to the tune of 8.9 million for operations that have been carried out on their behalf by the island's Fire Services.
The figure is equivalent to 1 percent of the annual budget of these municipalities and in some cases, there has been no contribution to the outstanding bill for a period of up to 8 years.
A case in point is Calvia where the debt stands at 6.5 million euros. There has been no payment to the Local Cooperation department of the Council of Majorca which monitors the Fire Services, since 2002.
Department Director, Miquel Rossello said yesterday that the only municipality of more than 20'000 inhabitants that owes nothing for Fire Services is Inca. He said though that there was another local authority with less population which is in debt, taking the total amount owed to the Council of Majorca for Fire Services to nearly 10 million euros.
The agreement of local councils to pay for the services of Fire Fighters dates back to 1984 but Rosselló said that he had chosen to expose the level of debt after Montuïri Council made an official complaint about the fact that what they paid to the Council for Fire Fighting operations didn't tally with the service they received.
Rosselló warned that legally, the Council of Majorca was in a position to charge the councils individually for what was owing to them for Fire Fighting services rendered, but he said that he preferred to first try and reach an agreement over settling the debt.
We are aware that local councils are experiencing a very difficult time economically at the moment, said Rosselló.
He furthered that at future meetings with municipal council leaders, the Council of Majorca was going to propose unifying costs for Emergency Services, including Fire Fighters, thus intending to save money.