Now that the period for presenting projects to be financed by the State fund has expired, the island's Town Councils have to wait to find out if their proposals have been accepted and for the money to be released. The first municipal districts to receive the government aid will be the 29 which have fewer than 200 inhabitants.

So far the State Government has given its approval to 42 of the 50 projects submitted from Menorca, ten of Es Mercadal's proposals being the latest to be given the "thumbs up".

With a total value of just under 700,000 euros, these were: reforms to the social and cultural centre in Fornells, Es Mercadal's library and Fornells infants' school; the construction of two padel courts in Es Mercadal; a new roof for and improvements to two of the buildings in the Recinto Ferial in Es Mercadal as well as alterations to a garage annex and the construction of a wing for municipal use in the complex; enlarging the Fornells cemetery; repairs to columns in the Fornells school; and work on the underground storey of the new Medical Centre in Es Mercadal.

All of Menorca's Town Councils met the deadline set by the State for the submission of projects which was last Saturday. Ten of the 50 proposals received help from the Island Council which, at a cost of 100,000 euros, employed architects and technical architects to draw up the projects so that they would be ready in time.

Once State approval has been granted the Town Councils have six weeks in which to contract out the work. Contractors will be paid 70% of the project's value when they are awarded the contract and the remaining 30% in stages throughout the work. All the work has to be completed by 30th March 2010, but must be co-ordinated so as not to disrupt the tourist season. This means that building permissions will have to be granted quickly so that constructors have time to finish the projects without working at the height of the tourist season.