The town hall has been vehemently opposed to the Son Baulo scheme and has, as a consequence, been at regular loggerheads with just about every other public authority imaginable - Muro town hall (as Muro has the obsolete plant in Albufera), the regional environment ministry and Madrid.
Joan Monjo, currently the deputy mayor, says that Madrid and the agriculture ministry in the Balearics would welcome this new project. However, the regional environment ministry (so many ministries!) refutes this. “No serious project has been presented” for what Monjo suggests would involve a water reuse scheme for irrigation.
Balearic government representatives were in Madrid the week before last in order to discuss the state financing that it is needed for the Son Baulo plant. The water resources directorate insists that this plant is the only one on the table. “Monjo’s intention is to block and delay its building.”
Power station on stand-by
The Es Murterar power station in Alcudia has not been contributing to electricity supply since two of the four production units were closed down at the end of last year. The plan has been for the two other units to be used in the autumn up to a maximum of 1,500 hours. This remains the plan, but the ministry for energy transition says that work is being carried out that will allow Es Murterar to operate rapidly if necessary.
The ministry explains that this scenario is “highly improbable”, given the production at the two non-coal-fired power stations (Son Reus and Cas Tresorer) and the supply by cable from the mainland. As a precaution, though, Es Murterar is being readied so that it can be reactivated if there really is the need.
It has been suggested that there is increased or even excessive demand for electricity because of the crisis. The ministry says that this isn’t the case.
There is higher demand domestically, for obvious reasons, but otherwise one would have thought that demand would be down because of the closure of hotels, all the bars, restaurants, etc., etc. Putting Es Murterar on stand-by is sensible, but as the ministry says, it is very unlikely that it will be needed.
Town halls able to spend for “social purposes”
Among the various measures adopted by the Spanish government is one that allows town halls to spend parts of their surpluses on social purposes. Town hall spending has been restricted ever since the introduction of the so-called Ley Montoro by the Partido Popular national government. This law, which was in accordance with deficit and budgetary demands made by Brussels, has curbed local authority spending, and it has done so to such an extent that certain town halls have now amassed enormous surpluses. Alcudia is one of them; it has almost 90 million euros in the bank.
While it sounds as if Madrid has released the shackles, there is - when isn’t there? - some confusion as to how town halls can spend their money. Certain town halls in Majorca are applauding the measure, but at Alcudia, finance councillor Joana Maria Bennàssar says that it only allows for social investments. These imply infrastructure, when this - at present - is not a priority. One requirement, which the government’s relaxation of the law doesn’t appear to permit, is the taking on of personnel to, for instance, provide assistance to the elderly, given that the day centre has been closed.
This time last week there was some confusion about markets. The current situation, as one understands it, is that weekly markets are continuing, but only for the sale of food produce.
It had seemed as if Alcudia had decided to suspend the three markets - Tuesday and Sunday in the town and Friday in the port - but these are in fact still open. In Pollensa town, the market has been moved to Plaça Ca les Monnares. Muro has reconsidered and will have a Sunday market, as will Sa Pobla.
Information from Santa Margalida town hall, as available on its website, suggests that the markets in the town and Can Picafort are suspended.
Suspending the “plenos”
Unsurprisingly, the plenary council meetings are being suspended for the time being, but not all town halls have made this decision. In Alcudia, a meeting isn’t scheduled until May, so it hasn’t yet been called off.
Pollensa meetings are off until further notice, as are those in Santa Margalida. Town hall business in general has been cut back, but there are still certain services which are available, e.g. the “padrón” municipal registration.
The general advice is that if dealings with town halls can be done electronically or by phone, then this is how they should be done.
One activity that is out of the norm is disinfecting the streets and squares. Alcudia is carrying out a municipality-wide cleansing operation, with a town hall team working during the day and Civil Protection volunteers taking over from eight in the evening.
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