Presentation. The proposed budget would exceed legal limits


At 22,721,008 euros, Ciutadella Council's debt is the largest of any on the island, in terms of the amount involved but not on a percentage basis. A Council's indebtedness is calculated by dividing the amount owed to the banks by the current income. The result is a percentage which, according to the law, cannot exced 110%. Currently the most indebted Council in Menorca is Alaior, at 84%, followed by Ciutadella at 78.79%. However, the budget presented by the Grupo Mixto, currently in power in Ciutadella, would raise the percentage to a level above that permitted by the law.

The budget presented by Antònia Salord to the opposition party, forecast an income of 36.1 million euros and expenses of 41.6 million, a deficit of almost 5.5 million euros. Added to this, the governing body was considering a loan of 4.9 million euros for investments. This would add 10.4 million euros to the current debt in just one year, and result in an indebtedness of 33.1 million euros by the end of 2009. More importantly, the percentage of debt compared to income would rise to 114.9%, which would be above the legal limit.

Debt per citizen
If Ciutadella Council's current debt were divided amongst the district's residents, each citizen would owe 791.78 euros. This is not the highest figure on the island; in Sant Lluís the Council's debt equates to 835.59 euros per resident and in Alaior 821.19 euros. At the other end of the scale is Ferreries, where the debt is equal to only 162.59 euros per person.

However, had the Grupo Mixto's buget been implemented in Ciutadella, then the debt would have risen to 1,155.14 euros per citizen.

At the moment Ciutadella's economic future is an unknown quantity. Firstly, because there is no municipal budget for the district as yet - this will be one of the first tasks to be undertaken by the new governing body to be formed by the PSOE and PSM. Secondly, the difficulty in balancing a budget in view of the dramatic reduction in income due to the slump in construction. In this respect, one of the solutions proposed by the new governing body, as a result of discussions with the Unió des Poble de Ciutadella de Menorca (UPCM) party, is to reduce the amount of investment. Bearing in mind that Ciutadella will receive in the region of five million euros this year from the State Fund for Local Investment, it could be considered that the investment side of the budget has already been covered.