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Children, youth and social initiatives once again at heart of participatory budgeting

Foto consell entitats 7 11 2017Yesterday evening Formentera's coalition of island organisations met to discuss results of the vote on participatory budgeting in 2017. Online ballots were cast by representatives of 31 local associations, and yesterday assembled coalition members gave the go-ahead to allocate this year's €325,000 budget to the three most popular projects.

The top voted projects, according to community involvement councillor Sònia Cardona, start with a roughly €100,000 fitness circuit for the elderly in Sant Ferran, built along the town's ring road. Second in line is a youth park, budgeted for approximately €209,000 and slated for construction in a public-use area at the juncture of carrers Guillem de Montgrí and Major. Lastly, coalition reps green-lighted an initiative to purchase an accessible sailboat for €16,000.

Aside from the boat, which the Council has already bought, the projects will be carried out in 2018 “in order to ensure maximum impact,” explained Cardona. She stressed that the coalition's bottom line remains “children and youth, social programmes and the disabled”. In the words of Councillor Cardona, the show of commitment “gives cause for thought, and says a lot about where this coalition is at right now”. She pledged the results of the vote “wouldn't go unnoticed by the Council's cabinet”.

The first convocation to initiate the 2018 participatory budgeting process will be held in January.

Island groups want 28 projects on participatory spending

Pressupost participatiu30032017Twenty-eight projects were presented last night at a gathering of Formentera's alliance of local organisations in the Casal d'Entitats. The “Council of Entities,” as it is known in Catalan, convened to discuss potential candidates for the league's so-called “participatory spending”. By evening's end, some of the initial proposals had been fused, reducing the final tally of projects on the list from 34 to 28.

Member groups have till April 12 to rank the proposals, which will then be whittled down to ten.

Next, explained CiF community involvement councillor Sònia Cardona, administration staff will run numbers on the proposals so that groups can decide how to distribute the budgetary spending.

In 2017 there is €325,000 available for distribution. Last year, the maiden year of the participatory spending initiative, the fund had €250,000. That money was split between 2016's two highest-ranked projects: one to eliminate architectural barriers to people with reduced mobility and another to upgrade school playground installations and children's parks.

Towards 2017's 'participatory budgets'

Foto consell entitats febrer 2017Yesterday evening Formentera's league of associations, the “Consell d'Entitats” (literally, “Council of Entities”), convened its regular gathering at Casal d'Entitats, the group's rendezvous point. Not just the occasion to inform association reps on the projects included in 2016's so-called “participatory budgets”, the meeting also served to lay the groundwork for a new set of funding directives in 2017.

Community involvement councillor Sònia Cardona said the current effort was about “taking a step forward with respect to last year's spending” and pointed out that it would be up to the league “to suggest new projects and decide which ones receive funding”. Attendants at last night's meeting also decided on a time line for proposals and were briefed on application protocol.

2016 spending
Additionally, the gathering was a chance for attendants to learn about betterment initiatives carried out in 2016. Rafael González, the administration's councillor of infrastructure, held up playground improvements at four local schools and upgrades to children's parks. He also referred to works to make the island's urban centres more accessible.

Tax office councillor Bartomeu Escandell spoke about the Council's 2017 budget, €23,815,000. For the second year in a row, the decision on how to allocate ten per cent, or €325,000, of the administration's budget will fall to the Consell d'Entitats. That money represents a €75K increase on 2016's figure (€250K).

Formentera drops suit against APB

foto aplaudiment consell entitatsFormentera Council (CiF) president Jaume Ferrer has announced that from today the first steps will be taken to withdraw litigation in the Balearic Islands' superior court of justice, TSJB, that took exception to the tender of the project to relocate Formentera's boat landing within the Eivissa port. Last night Ferrer explained the developments before a crowd of local community leaders, known as the Consell d'Entitats (“council of entities”), which convened so the CiF president could report on the deal struck regarding the new Formentera landing in the Eivissa port.

In Ferrer's words, “when there's a sense of dialogue —and it's actively promoted— reaching agreements that are satisfactory to all parties is quite a bit easier”. Ferrer thanked all levels of the administration that were involved and made the deal possible. In addition, he made special mention of a community group —Formentera Importa— and all the locals who took part, April 17, 2016, in a gathering that group organised at the Sant Francesc town square. Participants rallied under the slogan “On Sempre” — a call to keep the Formentera landing “where it's always been”.

At yesterday's Consell d'Entitats gathering, community involvement councillor Sònia Cardona and President Ferrer laid out the steps that went into reaching the accord, a document which was then presented in a September 28 meeting of a Balearic Islands port authority (APB) committee. The text reads: “The [new] Formentera landing will remain on the same lines as the current one; parallel to avinguda de Santa Eulària [an adjacent arterial – TdN] and occupying a lot near Club Nautico Ibiza. It will remain on the same dock as it is currently. This is a solution that maintains proximity with the centre of Vila while still allowing for construction of a pathway that can link the perimeter of the port area, which will be used by people. In so doing, the areas of the port that are dedicated to harbour work, fishing and industrial work will be restricted to the northerly, commercial dock”. The gathering concluded with a hearty round of applause by all those present.


Formentera moves to halt relocation of island's ferry landing on Eivissa

rp recurs portTwo figures of the Formentera Council, President Jaume Ferrer and Councillor Sònia Cardona of the community involvement office, reported on legal proceedings the island administration has brought to the high court of the Balearic Islands (TSJB) in order to halt the relocation of Formentera's ferry landing in the Eivissa port.

According to the Council, not only has procedure not been followed in the project's planning stages, but, Ferrer said, to move the landing would “violate legislation currently in place”. Àngel Navarro, head of the administration's legal department, was also present at this morning's announcement. Ferrer said the landing move would fall foul of the infrastructural directive of the Port d'Eivissa, the so-called “Port law”, another law on urban planning and Eivissa's own directive concerning land use on the island.

Vis-à-vis the procedure that was breached, Ferrer maintained “the who, when and how of this decision remain a mystery to us. We have yet to see the landing relocation reflected in any official decision by the Balearic port authority or its related agencies.” In the words of the CiF president, “If we hadn't brought our case to the TSJB, it would have been tantamount to accepting the decision to relocate.” Evoking an ever-more difficult battle to keep the landing where it is, Ferrer said the time had come to take action to stop the plans.

Public consensus
Before this morning's announcement, Ferrer spoke with heads of all the local political parties and received their blessing on the Council's suit. April 4 last, the Consell d'Entitats adopted a manifesto –later ratified in an April 11 one-off Council plenary– calling for “the use of internal or external legal counsel to do whatever is necessary to defend Formentera's position”. 

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