THE Balearic High Court has ruled that it is perfectly legal for Palma council to charge the banks a fee for ATMs (Automatic Telling Machines) in the street. This was announced by the deputy mayor of the Tax and Public Function department, Pedro Alvarez.
He said that on November 7 the High Court ruled that it was perfectly in order for Palma council to make this charge.
The charge made by the council takes into account the ground and air space in the street occupied by the cash dispenser outside the banks, even though it forms part of the bank's building. It was at the council's meeting on December 23 2004 that this measure was approved. It was appealed against in court by the Confederation of Spanish Savings Banks on February 24 2005. In the November 7 ruling the court said that the installation of ATMs “on the outside of the building and facing the public highway” allowed users a 24 hour banking service which involves partial and temporary occupation of the public highway. That is to say “special use is made of the public highway by the bank owning the ATM, giving it (the bank) a specific and exclusive benefit which is partially balanced by this charge which compensates for the use of the public highway”. Alvarez said that there are a number of towns in Spain which have been applying a charge similar to this for several years.
The amount paid by each bank for the installation of an ATM on the public highway in Palma is some 300 euros per year, and in Palma, at the moment, there are around 200 ATMs. The November 7 ruling only refers to ATMs outside banks, although it could be extended to other establishments, such as video clubs for example.
However, so far Palma council has not decided what to do about this.

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