By Humphrey Carter

PALMA
JUST days after the official Balearic Accounts Department revealed that Calvia residents are paying the highest council taxes in the Balearics, the council has agreed to hike council taxes, what used to be known as rates in the UK, again for the second consecutive year.

The conservative Partido Popular council led by Mayor, Carlos Delgado, has increased the local council tax, which covers basic services such as street cleaning and lighting, by an average of 15 percent this year.

But, in some places, the Impuesto de Bienes Inmuebles (IBI) rates have risen by a massive 57 percent.

OUTRAGE
The move has caused outrage in some parts of the municipality where the council used to enjoy a healthy income from construction and tourism, council sources told the Bulletin yesterday.

But, the recession has reduced income from both sectors and now, the council tax accounts for around 50 percent of the council's income. But, with the municipality's tourist industry and retail sector still suffering at the hands of the global economic crisis, the sharp hike in council taxes has not been welcomed.

Residents which have been hardest hit are those living in El Toro, Nova Santa Ponsa and Ca's Catala, ironically the areas where Delgado apparently enjoys the bulk of his support.

In Palma, for example, the council is considering either reducing or freezing the rates to help residents combat the recession. Similar steps have been taken in Marratxi where the local Mayor, Jose Ramon Bauza, is the President of the Balearic branch of the Partido Popular.

Council taxes are even lower in municipalities such as Alcudia and Llucmajor and even Palma which are much larger than Calvia.
The opposition Socialist Party has challenged Delgado over his rates policy on numerous occasions but, Calvia Council continues to apparently spend three out of every four euros collected in rates on personal expenses, advisors and advertising.

ANGRY RESIDENT
But, as one angry Calvia resident put it yesterday “all this money is spent on advertising tourism in Calvia in the local papers. It's madness, these adverts should be being placed overseas,” he proclaimed.

The opposition has been lobbying the Mayor to reduce the council's expenditure by freezing or cutting wages, drastically slashing the number of advisors and reducing the advertising budget by 50 percent.

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