ABOLITION OF MUNICIPALITIES COULD AFFECT 81 TOWNS IN ALMERIA
Kevin Reardon / 2012-07-15 20:05:45
Eighty-One municipalities in the province of Almeria could disappear according to the General Secretary of the PP, María Dolores de Cospedal, who said in a recent interview, that central government continues to work on plans that would see the cluster of municipalities with fewer than 5,000 inhabitants amalgamated in order to remove those many functions that are being duplicated and to reduce costs.
A little under two years ago the PSOE introduced the germ of an idea when they suggested the elimination of county councils. This initiative was widely criticized by the PP, and branded as opportunist by the left, just as the reins of government were being picked up in most provincial institutions by the Partido Popular.
Then the government made public the possible removal of the provinces. This measure appears that it could go ahead and was well accepted by the Provincial Institution.
But now there are alarm bells ringing for local government over recent proposals that the borders around many smaller municipalities could be adjusted, an idea that is being considered by the current government. If this measure is implemented it will affect almost 80% of the municipalities in the province.
However the vice president and spokesman for the county council, Javier Aureliano Garcia, rejects this idea. "It is important that all the people of the province continue to have a voice. I believe in tradition and the eccentricities of each municipality so I feel that it is important that they are not allowed to disappear, "he said. However, Garcia did say that there should be some commitment from central government to legislate "for those municipalities that cannot cope with their current expenses and that they should be allowed to share services with other municipalities."
Garcia said that "the central government will take no action without first consulting the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces", which is expected to oppose the measure.
It is also thought that most of the small towns in the province with less than 5,000 inhabitants currently reject the proposal announced by Cospedal, which could mean the loss of identity and tradition of many municipalities. "There are people who can sound very similar, but no two are alike." said the vice president, “and I will continue to argue their case against this announcement.”
This measure adds to the recent statement by the Government of Mariano Rajoy that many municipalities would be dissolved and their powers assumed by the provincial councils.
"However we fully agree with the Government in trying to rationalise the General State Administration and to avoid those many parallel administrative functions where there is a duplication of services, skills and activities, where funding can be trimmed back on those activities that are already being carried out elsewhere," he said.
The merger of municipalities is provided for in Article 13 of Law 7/1985, where the Autonomous Communities have the power to initiate a merger of municipalities (Article 148 Spanish Constitution) and over the years many people have spoken in favor of reducing the large layers of local government where there are currently 1037 municipalities with fewer than 100 inhabitants. 3796 municipalities with fewer than 500 inhabitants and 6821 municipalities (84.1%) with less than 5,000 inhabitants.