Alcudia has the highest accumulated surplus of all town halls in Mallorca. | Archive

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Several town halls in Mallorca have large amounts of spare cash that are the consequence of an accumulation of budget surpluses. The reason for these surpluses can be traced to a Spanish government law that was introduced as a response to the financial crisis. This budgetary stability legislation required town halls to reduce their debts to zero (or near enough) and also limited what they could spend and how they could spend.

Alcudia is the most extreme example of this, as it has been for some years. The 2021 financial year has closed, and the accounts show that there is now a surplus of more than 97 million euros. It has risen, and this is despite the fact that the Spanish government - responding to Covid necessities - allowed the spending of surpluses (or a percentage thereof) in 2021.

Given the surplus, one of the opposition parties at the town hall, Podemos, has attacked the "ineffective management" of the town hall administration. The party says that it had been assumed that the administration had the obligation to stimulate economic recovery in Alcudia. It had the legal instrument to do so, i.e. the suspension of budgetary stability rules. "However, the accounts say something else."

Podemos go on to explain that of more than 51 million euros of the budget at the end of 2021, there was a remainder of 19,8 million. "In other words, almost 40% of the budget has not been spent." The party adds that the amount of money in banks is in fact 99.3 million euros.

"In a year of extreme need, the municipal administration has been unable to use the money it had to start the economic recovery. They could temporarily have reduced the tax burdens on residents. They could have developed projects to improve the municipality."

At a council meeting in mid-December, the councillor for public works, Martí Garcías, admitted that projects hadn't been acted upon because of a lack of personnel in the contracts department. He was responding to questions as to why the town hall hadn't spent any of the then 90 million euros it had in the bank on projects agreed on in February 2021 and which included ones originally approved by the previous administration (from 2015 to 2019).

The councillor responsible for contracts, Joana Maria Bennàssar, said at that December meeting that seven projects would shortly be given the go-ahead, while the mayor, Barbara Rebassa, accepted that the "ultimate responsibility" was hers, adding that she would be working to ensure that it didn't happen again.

A council meeting is scheduled for this coming Monday at 9am.