STAFF REPORTER MAYOR of Palma, Aina Calvo, said yesterday that in view of the economic crisis, the City Council will not be putting up property tax this year. Calvo said that “we are living the worst moments of the crisis,” adding that the tax on personal property will be frozen whilst the economic climate remains harsh. The Mayor's comments came to light during a “State of Palma” debate which took place at the Council's chambers at City Hall. Calvo said that at the next Council plenary session, an Austerity Plan will be proposed to redress the balance of declining Council Treasury income.

The Mayor described the decision to freeze property tax as “difficult and painful” because it means that spending will have to be cut drastically over the next few years. “We're all aware times will be hard for us,” said Calvo. She qualified her statement however, by claiming that “it is the best decision we can make.” The Mayor also wants to see less bureaucracy at City Hall so that businesses, particularly builders, can get permission for their activities more swiftly. To this end, within the next few months, the Council will be opening up new offices purely for handling licensing paperwork. Commenting on the new Palma tram out to the airport, Arenal and separately to Calvia, Calvo said yesterday that this project was a major investment for which the City Council is awaiting significant funding from Central Government. “We won't however,” said Calvo “embark on the project until we have finished solving the problem of road access to Palma.” Promoting tourism was another major challenge, she reported, through alliances already established with other major Spanish cities such as Bilbao and Sevilla. The move has brought an important increase to weekend tourism.