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Formentera approves Council's 2018 spending

Foto ple novembre 2017Council members gathered today for the administration's November plenary assembly, a session whose highlights included approval for the island's 2018 general budget. Vice-president and tax office secretary Bartomeu Escandell reported that a projected 12.78% spending increase would bring the total budget for the coming year to €26.9 million.

Escandell cited a more robust endowment from the region, including funding from sources like the so-called “Sustainable Tourism Tax” and the central government in Madrid. The secretary held up the administration's current zero debt load as a sign of its economic sure-footedness and proof “the Council doesn't need external funding”. “Yes” votes were cast by senior councillors and PSOE officials. Members of Compromís abstained and Popular Party officials voted “no”.

Core spending
The Formentera Council will make €4.5 million in direct investments on the island. One priority project to administer and create protections for local lake Estany des Peix will receive €400,000. Environmental safeguards aside, the budget is noteworthy for its focus on heritage site restoration. Escandell held up plans to commit €500,000 for the transformation of la Mola's lighthouse into a cultural gathering point. Money will also be set aside to get work started at Can Ramon, restore Sa Senieta and purchase heritage sites like Es Campament. Escandell pointed out that €1.1 million has been earmarked to build a nautical sports centre, “another of our administration's top priorities next year,” he said.

La Mola lighthouse
With “yes” votes from the cabinet secretaries and PSOE officials and the abstention of Compromís and PP, the assembly passed a measure to task Tragsa with the project's €765,550 execution. Crews will start in December and have nine months to complete the project, which involves rebuilding the lighthouse's ground floor and outer façade. Labrador said the changes would “rebrand the lighthouse as a cultural hub,” and promised “continued measures to protect this invaluable heritage site”.

In addition to an interpretative centre for la Mola's and other lighthouses on Formentera, the revamped ground floor will house a museographic collection on the local maritime patrimony and a multipurpose space for cultural events like exhibitions, concerts, conferences, recitals and stage productions. Besides a welcome area, toilets and storage spaces, the lighthouse will feature, at its entrance, a patio for open-air events both cultural and educational in nature. The remodel is possible thanks to an easement agreement between the administration and the Balearic port authority.

The session brought unanimous support for a measure urging regional heads of the Guardia Civil as well as the law enforcement agency's Govern delegates for Eivissa and Formentera and the Balearic department of public administration to reclassify Formentera's Guardia Civil station as “principal”.

Unqualified support was also given to a Compromís proposition to equip toilets in Council buildings with baby changing stations and put the important change at the centre of an outreach campaign directed at the private sector. The measure also urges the adoption of a similar overhaul across the Balearic government's offices on the island.

Plenary attendees were also united in approving another Compromís motion, this time to allow paperwork and formalities normally carried out in person at the Eivissa harbour master's office to be completed directly at the agency's Formentera branch. The Council, it was agreed, will urge the harbour master to dispatch an office representative to Formentera several days each month to tend to the requests of residents.

Full approval came for another Compromís measure, this one brokered by Gent per Formentera, to urge the Govern balear to equip their associated buildings with defribillators and require their presence in public places. The measure aims to assure such devices are in working order and that staff are trained in their operation. The Council will study adopting similar changes as well.

Lieutenant colonel's send-off

Comiat del fresnoThe Formentera Council gave the head of the Eivissa-Formentera Guardia Civil, Antonio del Fresno, an official send-off as he prepares to relocate to mainland Spain to continue employment. Secretary of the president's office, Bartomeu Escandell, offered the parting lieutenant colonel a series of books about the history of Formentera. Also on hand for the ceremony were the administration's senior cabinet members and representatives of assorted forces of order, including Guardia Civil, local police, civil protection, firefighters, the island's small and medium-sized business association (PIMEF) and a coalition of hotels.

Formentera firefighters put out three blazes

Incendi garatgeA vehicle fire on a stretch of private road in Punta Prima was put out by Formentera's fire brigade. Notice of the incident was received at 10.50pm and firefighters reported flames under control by 12.30am. A three-person team of firemen, pick-up and water truck in tow, was joined by members of civil defence and Guardia Civil forces. The latter is currently heading up the accompanying investigation.

Early in the morning on Saturday, Formentera's fire crew brought another fire under control, this time in an Es Cap de Barbaria garage. The alarm was sounded at 12.36am and the flames were reported contained at 3.15am. In addition to smoke- and heat-fuelled damage to the structure's interior, a van parked inside was completely destroyed. A three-person team of firemen, pick-up and water truck in tow, was joined by members of civil defence and Guardia Civil forces. The latter is currently heading up the accompanying investigation.

Lastly, the fire crew was alerted at 2.15pm when a single-family home in Punta Prima caught fire last Thursday. Firefighters declared the scene under control at 4.45pm.. The entire house sustained smoke damage and one room was damaged by flames. A three-person team of firemen, pick-up and water truck in tow, was joined by members of civil defence and Guardia Civil forces. The latter is currently heading up the accompanying investigation. No one was injured in the three fires.

Civil protection volunteers of Eivissa and Formentera meet

Foto grup proteccio civil premsaYesterday Formentera welcomed 250 civil protection volunteers from across the Pityuses for a day of festivities. The day-long celebration, or “Diada,” brought together civil defence groups from Eivissa, Sant Josep, Sant Antoni, Sant Joan, Santa Eulària, Vila, Formentera and the day's special guests from Marratxí, Mallorca.

Following a tour of Can Marroig, participants headed to IES Marc Ferrer gymnasium, where, after a look at some the arsenal of Formentera's civil protection forces and fire brigade, volunteers watched a demo of Formentera Local Police's canine unit before sitting down for lunch.

Also on hand at the Diada were Council president Jaume Ferrer, Govern minister Fanny Tur and other officials.

Formentera welcomes visiting economic and social council

Reunio ces formenteraThe Formentera Council has received an official visit from representatives of the Balearic Islands' council on economic and social affairs, or CES (Consell Econòmic i Social). Today at 12.30pm, Jaume Ferrer and the administration's senior councillors sat down with CES spokespeople in the Council's hall of ceremonies. After the meeting, CiF vice-president Bartomeu Escandell and CES chair Carles Manera gave a press conference before members of the media.

Escandell thanked the CES reps for their visit and applauded the group's reactivation. In the vice-president's words, CES “can count on our administration's full cooperation providing information pertinent to their analytical work”. He also highlighted the Formentera Council's insistence since its creation that data be broken down, or “disaggregated,” between the individual islands, rather than bundled together for Eivissa and Formentera.

According to Carles Manera, the CES's reactivation in July 2017 after shuttering in 2012 signals “an exciting new era” for the group. One project already in development involves a yearly publication on economic, social, cultural and environmental data with two new features: disaggregated data between the islands and a systematisation of a database on current business trends employing commercial registry data.

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