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Council's 2017 budget tops €23 million

foto president consellerJaume Ferrer was joined today by Bartomeu Escandell in unveiling the Formentera Council's 2017 budget. At an 11.00am gathering in the administration's plenary hall, the president and tax office councillor shared that the annual budget reached 23.8 million euros, up 6.91% from 2016's €22,275,000 figure.

Economic backdrop
The Council's 2017 financial forecast comes in the context of exceedingly trying —and increasingly unpredictable— economic conditions globally. Next year, barring unforeseen changes, experts predict a shrinking of the Spanish and Eurozone GDPs. Eivissa and Formentera, nevertheless, are at the head of economic growth in the Balearics, a trend unchanged in recent years.

Revenues and spending
New in this year's list of expenditures is a line item for a traffic inspection crew. Additional spending goes to expanding Formentera's lifeguard and rescue service, fire brigade, school of music, childcare services, cleaning crews and administrative staff.

The island currently has zero debt, although financing is envisioned to take on a loan tied to Formentera's development consortium (CFd) through BMN. Revenue growth is projected on the back of increasingly efficient tax checks.

Focal points of local investment include improvement projects in residential and tourist urban zones, green and sustainable transport solutions, upgrades of out-of-use local heritage sites (a joint venture with the Formentera Council of Entities) and public service improvements. A line item of €2.15m is reserved for improvements in es Pujols and another €100k will go to preservation efforts at Estany des Peix. La Mola's lighthouse will also receive the same €100k sum for use in cultural endeavours. An additional line item earmarks €325k for budgetary investments through the Council of Entities.

Half marathon participants determined today by draw of lots

mitja marato sortidaAccording to the Office of Sport of the Formentera Council (CiF), today, Friday, November 18 at 12.30pm, a draw of lots will be held to determine participants of the Formentera Half Marathon. The drawing will take place at the head office of the CiF under the supervision of a notary public. Registrations ended Tuesday, November 15 at 23.59pm.

A total of 3,067 and 1,514 applications were received for the half marathon and the 8K run respectively. In recent years the pool of would-be runners consistently exceeded the number of spaces available, which is why, explained CiF sports councillor Jordi Vidal, “the drawing was devised as an objective way to determine which individuals obtained the 1,700 and 800 spots available in the half marathon and 8K footrace”.

The lists of potential runners in both races were sent to Dr Javier González Granados, the notary public selected by the Council to supervise the drawing. A computer programme will produce random numbers that will be used to establish a roster of 2,500 participating runners.

Councillor Vidal thanked all the applicants for their interest while underscoring the need to limit entry, citing the importance of “ensuring the races can take place safely and in conditions that allow participants to enjoy the event”. Wishing better luck in future drawings to all the runners who fail to make today's final list, Vidal urged them to visit Formentera during any other part of the off-season, a moment he called “ideal for sport”.

Taking on precarious employment

foto presentacio pla de lluitaTwo officials of the Govern balear —labour minister Iago Negueruela and department chair Isabel Castro—, meeting in the plenary hall of the Formentera Council to share the results of a 2016 plan to tackle precarious employment, announced improved conditions this summer for 412 Formentera locals.

Also present at the gathering was Formentera's councillor of tourism, land and trade, Alejandra Ferrer, who highlighted 2016 as the second straight year of cooperation between Formentera and Palma on the plan. Calling the joint efforts “necessary to eliminating the precariousness that grips the Balearics”, Ferrer called on the Govern to remain firm in its engagement.

According to the councillor, this July and August, 361 local job contracts became permanent as a direct result of the efforts of two inspectors dispatched to the island. The plan of action is backed by the Palma ministry of labour, trade and industry and assisted by the provincial department of the labour inspectorate. Thanks to the summer push, more than four hundred Formentera residents saw their working conditions improve through changes to employment contracts, extended work hours or new job offers.

This year's encouraging results reflected improvements in the campaign, such as more time to coordinate and plan inspections, said Negueruela, who thanked the Formentera Council for supporting efforts by providing the inspectors lodging as well as other assistance.

In particular, the 2016 figures show a 178% year-on-year spike in individuals who benefitted from better employment conditions. Minister Negueruela pointed to 560 workers who had experienced improvements in the last two years thanks to the campaign.

Temporary contracts
As for revisions of temporary contracts, Formentera boasted more than any other island. Locally, the number of short-term contracts transformed into permanent ones jumped from 121 to 361, a 66.5% increase on last year's figures. A total of 9,256 job contracts were reviewed throughout the Balearics, of which, 3,381 were changed to “indefinite” arrangements, which means that more than one in three (36%) was previously in breach of the law. Last year contract transformations took place just 25% of the time.

Extended working hours
As for part-time versus full-time employment, Formentera is also the island that logged the most cases of illegal work schedule arrangements, which, according to the inspectors, were up 76%. In due form, working hours were legally extended in 37 cases, up from 21 similar cases in 2015.

It was also reported that 93 employees who should have been registered with social security were never registered. Corrections in those cases were made accordingly. On Formentera there were a total of 13 “transformed social security registrations”.

Punitive measures
On the heels of the inspection crew's efforts in July and August, penalties were pursued in 12 cases for a combined sum of €39,400. In the entire Illes Balears region, 89 such sanctions were brought for a total of €342,230.

Govern to spend €13 million on Formentera in 2017

foto presentacio pressupostosCatalina Cladera, minister of the tax office in Palma, together with the Govern balear's director general of budgets and finances, Joan Carrió, presented today the Balearic Islands' 2017 budget for Formentera. Also on hand for the gathering were Formentera Council (CiF) president Jaume Ferrer, economy councillor Bartomeu Escandell and the rest of the local councillors comprising the island's governing team.

According to Cladera, the draft law underpinning the region's general 2017 budget for Formentera sets out €13.1 million, or an 8.9% increase on the funding received by the CiF in 2016. Meanwhile, financing from the Govern and a consortium of public sector agencies (referred to as Sector Públic Instrumental) will grow 1.5% percent.

Of the total figure, €6.1m will be paid out in current transfers as per the regional law on funding for the island councils (€5.9m of which is an advance on the 2017 package and €0.2m is payment of an advance from 2015). The figure is up €0.5m, or 8.9%, from the amount received in 2016.

Capital investment on Formentera, both from the ministries of the regional government in Palma and public sector agencies, has climbed 1.5% to €5.6m. The lion's share of the upswing will be in water treatment and in education.

Councillor Escandell, of the tax office, hailed the €500,000 year-on-year budget ascension, a change he said would be reflected in priority actions at the Sant Ferran primary school (which has a line item of €1.5m) and environmental projects like water treatment plant maintenance and operationalising the new irrigation reservoir.

Escandell also alluded to plans by Silvia Tur, a representative in the Balearic parliament, to present amendments requesting Formentera's budgetary allocation be increased. Of the different amendments, the most noteworthy relates to a deal struck between the CiF and the Govern and entails more money to cover costs of rubbish transfer. It is hoped that the €550,000 initially set aside by the Palma administration can be raised so as to cover 100% of waster transfer costs —roughly €1m— by the end of the current legislative session.

A week of activities taking aim at gender violence

foto premsa donaSocial welfare councillor Vanessa Parellada, together with Dolores Fernández Tamargo, chair of local women's organisation Espai Dones, and CiF social welfare office operating manager Azuzena Carrasco, unveiled the poster advertising the programme for the "International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women". The activities programme will start Friday and run through the following Saturday, November 26.

The women's association has scheduled a workshop aimed at strength building and personal improvement to be given by psychologist Pere Serra. The workshop is slated for Friday, 6.00 to 8.00pm, and Saturday, 10.00am to 12 noon, and will be held in classrooms of the Formentera adult learning centre, next to Mestre Lluís Andreu primary school. On Monday, November 21, there is a vernissage of Paz Die Dean's new exhibition, A corazón abierto, in the Council's exhibition hall (sala d'Exposicions). Wednesday, November 23, Formentera will receive a visit from Nadia Ghulam, a young Afghan on a mission to share her experience as a woman in Afghanistan under the Taliban. Her talk will begin at 7.00pm in the conference hall (sala d'Actes) of the Office of Culture.

The day of the celebration, Friday, November 25, will hold an afternoon replete with activities and events. At 5.00pm an informational stand will be set up at plaça de la Constitució in Sant Francesc, and at 5.30pm there will be a reading of a manifesto about eliminating gender violence. A 6.00pm workshop entitled Remodelarte will guide participants though the production of a collage at the Centre Antoni Tur “Gabrielet”.

Stand-up comedy and dinner
Saturday, November 26, stand-up comedian Patricia Sornosa will take the stage at the municipal cinema. Tickets for the show are priced at €8 or €5 for Espai Dones members. As ever, a communal dinner for all the women who wish to participate will be held at 9.30pm. Reservations can be made by calling 697 941 016.

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