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foto consell premsaThe Formentera Council's tax office has reported its average pay-out time for service providers in 2016 to be 26.12 days. Department head Bartomeu Escandell, who made the announcement, held up the data as proof that the administration has “effectively digitalised its internal processes as to quickly pay its providers”.

Pay cycles tended to be dragged out during the crisis, said Escandell, but streamlined online procedures have allowed the Council to get the average waiting period on provider pay-outs within the legal limit of 30 days.

Local security council convenes in effort to boost inter-agency coordination

Reunio jls marc2017Members of the island's security council came together earlier today in a gathering which was co-chaired by Formentera Council president Jaume Ferrer and Palma's envoy on the island Maria Salom. The meeting was also attended by a bevy of CiF officials —vice-president Susana Labrador, presidential cabinet councillor Bartomeu Escandell, mobility councillor Rafael González and social welfare councillor Vanessa Parellada—, members of other parties, national security officers like Jaume Barceló, colonel of the Balearic Islands civil guard, José Manuel Mariscal de Gante, Eivissa's commissioner of the Spanish national police, along with individuals from the local police, civil protection and other emergency services on the island.

Describing the annual pre-summer encounter as a way to “take stock of the previous season and coordinate the security forces' joint efforts ahead the coming season,” Ferrer took the opportunity to welcome the Govern Balear's recently appointed Formentera delegate and share with her the key points affecting safety on the island, like entry and exit through the la Savina port and drug trafficking. Ferrer said that too few agents on the local police force was one reason greater inter-agency coordination would be needed.

Civil guard base in la Savina
The president cited repeated calls for a permanent boat on the Guardia Civil's sea fleet. In that respect, Ferrer said both Colonel Barceló and Ms Salom had alluded to the possibility of stationing the force's Pitiüsa-based watercraft in la Savina. The Council president openly welcomed the possibility and said that talks were already under way with the Balearic port authority and other authorities to make it a reality.

For her part, the Govern's envoy celebrated the “spirit of teamwork” among meeting attendees which she said would “guarantee a safer Formentera and ensure all the agencies here today are more efficient and effective”. She also said that the positive outcome of experiences last summer would cement the regional ministry's support for continued cooperation between Italian carabinieri and local security forces on Formentera. In addition, Salom announced the Govern's plan to sign off on a cross-agency convention to stop gender violence.

New OAC opening hours

Foto oacThe Formentera Council has announced that from March the Citizen Information Office (OAC) will no longer open Saturdays and opt instead for Thursday afternoon service. The OAC's Monday to Friday timetable till now —9.00am to 2.00pm— will remain unchanged. However, the office will begin offering Thursday service, 4.00 to 6.00pm. The tweaked hours were a response to sagging turnout on Saturday mornings and requests the office open one afternoon per week.

The Council additionally offers a similar service online. Using the Virtual Citizen Information Office (OVAC), residents can take care of 78 formalities via internet, including some of the most often requested, like renewing passes for parking in la Savina or ferry travel.

Formentera Council island president Jaume Ferrer's address on Diada de les Illes Balears

Foto discurs institucional-For 10 years now, there have been 4 of us-

Formentera, March 1, 2017

Bon dia a tothom. Thank you for being here today. We've got plenty of activities in store and your participation will make the day wonderful and festive. Thanks go to Espai dones de Formentera, Grup esportiu Espalmador and Asociación española contra el cáncer for working with us to organise today's fabulous walk/run and paella.

Today is a holiday not just on Formentera but on each one of the Balearic Islands. Though here on Formentera we've got even more reasons to celebrate. I hope everyone enjoys the day and the activities scheduled. I'm here to explain why I say that here on Formentera there are more reasons to celebrate.

Because for 10 years now there have been 4 of us.
For 10 years now the Balearic Islands have had 4 island councils.
For 10 years now Formentera has felt like one of the four pieces of the Balearic Islands Autonomous Community.

Though technically speaking our region has always been composed of four islands (not counting the smaller, unpopulated ones), that wasn't the political reality until 2007. Previously, and politically speaking, there were only three of us. Mallorca, Menorca and —sharing one single island council— Eivissa and Formentera.

Yesterday on Palma, I watched Isidor Torres as he received the Ramon Llull award, a well-deserved honour. He was the last person to serve as mayor of the Ajuntament de Formentera, our island's local municipal authority. He said —I remember it well—: “We want to be the fourth supporting wall of the autonomous community”.

Formentera was the only island in the country without its own council. Whilst the other islands debated whether or not we were large enough to justify our own council, we knew, for it was our day-to-day reality, that our island had outgrown its little ajuntament.

We seized the opportunity provided by the overhaul of the Balearic Islands' Statute of Autonomy. The unity of all our political forces, plus the combined efforts of Isidor Torres and Pep Mayans, bore fruit.

On March 1, 2007, Organic Law 1/2007, adopted February 28 and included in the Statute of Autonomy of the Balearic Islands, was published in Spain's official state bulletin. It entered into force the following day.

A great change for Formentera.

Article 18.2, in the third section of the 1983 Statute, read: “The island councils shall be charged with the governance and administration of Mallorca, Menorca and Eivissa/Formentera and of their neighbouring islands”.

Article 61, in the fourth section of the 2007 Statute, reads: “Each island shall have its own governing body, an island council. These shall be charged with the governance, administration and representation of Mallorca, Menorca, Eivissa and Formentera”.

The 2007 overhaul of the Statute of Autonomy did away with the barriers set forth by the 1983 Statute that had made Formentera the only island in Spain without its own council.

On July 10, 2007, freed from the legal barriers which had historically stood in the way and driven by the desire to find political solutions in tune with our reality, a president assumed leadership of a council that was uniquely Formentera's.

In that sense, the Statute allows us to tackle our island's problems right here where they occur.

It's been an exhilarating few years. We were faced with the task of turning our local municipal authority into a municipality and council. Nowhere in Spain was there any precedent to serve as a roadmap, but we stuck it out and today we've got greater ability to self-govern.

We've got increased resources. Just look at our funding. In its final year, the Ajuntament de Formentera had 10.6 million euros. Today our Council has got 23.8 million.

Every day, more people wake up and head to work at the island's governing body. In 2007 there were 144 on the payroll. Today there are 278.

Overall, new institutions like this one and the hospital, which this year also celebrates its tenth year, mean improved well-being and growth. We've gone from 9,380 inhabitants (January 2007) to 12,945 (January 2017).

This gathering is a celebration of 10 years of the Formentera Council's existence. There will be more. During this special year, we hope we'll have the time to thank both the councillors that comprise our governing team and those of all our political parties, as well as Formentera Council staff and individuals from other participating institutions, all of whom have built an administration that is worthy of the great people it represents.

Before finishing, I'd like to thank the Govern de les Illes Balears for the hand it has played in organising today's activities, here and on the other islands. And to thank you, for listening. Molts anys i bons a tothom!

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