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Judicial body rejects Madrid's attempt to cut 9 positions from Formentera police

Polis formenteraThe administrative offices of the Spanish courts have issued an interlocutory order in favour of the Formentera Council (CiF), objecting to the elimination of 9 staff positions on the island's local police force. The decision opposes a motion filed May 30 by the Spanish state's legal counsel on behalf of the Popular Party (PP) to enforce a February 28 ruling, known as “87/2017”.

In the order, magistrate Núria Ramos endorses the CiF's case, saying: “The court has weighed the different interests and finds that the Formentera Council has both stated and sufficiently documented its arguments”. Likewise, Ramos says, representatives of the national government have not demonstrated that any damages would proceed from failing to implement the [February 28] order. The court ordered Spain's attorney to pay for legal fees associated with the trial.

'PP actions are placing Formentera at risk'
Bartomeu Escandell, the CiF's secretary in charge of the tax office, rural affairs and police, blasted the “double talk” of the conservative party, saying: “In plenary sessions, PP operatives claim Formentera lacks sufficient law enforcement agents, yet they use every means at their disposal to impede the deployment of those resources. The attacks waged by Madrid's Formentera delegation on the new jobs on the police force are an example of that”.

Escandell called requests this year to cut 9 permanent staff even as the state government solicited 5,197 new positions on the national police and Guardia Civil forces “hypocritical” and “irresponsible with respect to our safety on Formentera”.

Escandell continued: “Conservative party officials have got every right to disagree with our administration and members of our party. However, on issues of safety, any serious national government must understand that part of its job is to ensure there are enough police. This is not an issue where Madrid can cut corners”.

The Madrid delegation filed an administrative appeal to block an agreement reached by the CiF on August 22, 2014 calling for applicants for 9 positions on the Formentera local police force.

Administrative court number 1 in Palma dismissed the motion on September 1, 2016. Surprisingly, the PP government in Madrid appealed that ruling. Earlier this year, on February 28, the call for applicants was rescinded, and Madrid requested immediate enforcement of the ruling.

This most recent interlocutory order was issued at the end of July, upholding the Council's calls to block enforcement of the February ruling.

Formentera firefighters drain car parks hit by rain at ses Salines

Foto bombeig parquingsdia11Having worked throughout the afternoon and into the evening on August 10, fire crews of the Formentera Council resumed water removal efforts today after rainfall left parking areas in the ses Salines nature reserve flooded.

Parc Natural de ses Salines, which comprises Illetes and Llevant beaches, limits private parking in order to ensure access for emergency vehicles. As a result, response operations today meant fewer park visitors could enter the park, with car queues overflowing to the adjacent highway.

Council officials expect the park will see a return to semi-normal conditions by tomorrow and have thanked ses Salines employees as well as local police and Guardia Civil agents for their work dealing with traffic slowdowns and redirecting visitors to other beaches.

Storm causes 10 minor incidents on island

Foto bombers arbre 100817When the storm and rains that began August 9 at 8.00pm subsided the morning of August 10, Formentera's fire brigade and local police were left dealing with 10 minor incidents across the island. Five involved flooded storefronts and another five concerned trees that had fallen on country roads and other arterials.

The electrical storm caused power failures and telephone cuts, which meant municipal offices in Sant Ferran and the Citizen Information Office (OAC) saw communication disrupted, affecting work throughout the day on August 10.

Eight sailboats run aground
Strong gusts of wind yesterday evening left eight boats stranded on the sand and rocks of Cala Saona. By the morning, all the ships on the sand had been hauled back out to sea, leaving just one—which had run aground on rocks—to be dealt with.

This morning in la Savina port, one sunken ship held up the passage of ferries carrying vehicles and had yet to be removed as of 1.00pm today. Formentera's firefighters and local police offered help to maritime rescue forces and Guardia Civil, which oversaw salvage operations.

Council extends partnerships with senior centres, unlocks €24K for 2017

Signatura conveni majors 2017Formentera Council president Jaume Ferrer has signed partnerships with four seniors and retirees associations on the island. Under the 12-month deals, the Council will give €24,000 towards maintaining the centres and ongoing services, creating and running projects for the elderly, developing intergenerational workshops and other programmes of interest to the aged in 2017.

Ferrer sat down with Margarita Sanchís, chair of the Sant Francesc retirees and pensioners club, to sign a deal for €9K. He also formalised a €6.5K agreement with the head of Sant Ferran's social centre/seniors club, Rita Costa, and signed €4.5K and €4K deals with the pensioners' and elderly groups of la Savina and el Pilar de la Mola. Those clubs' respective chairpersons, Maria Costa and Jaume Escandell, were also present for the signing.

In plenary, attendees adopt plan on dependent care centre

Foto ple juliol 2017 1Today saw the celebration of the Formentera Council's July plenary session. The meeting brought approval for a proposed measure to partner with the Balearic Islands' department of social services and cooperation in building a care centre for dependent persons on the island.

The deal, explained social welfare secretary Vanessa Parellada, defines the centre's total cost (€1.2 million) and the share to be paid by each side (in the Govern's case, 70%; in the CiF's, 30%). Given Formentera's eligibility under the Palma administration's financing scheme for dependent individuals, day-to-day operation costs at the new centre—between €63 and €68 a day—will also be split.

The Formentera Council owns the land where construction is planned, a plot adjacent to the current care centre for the elderly. The new building will support 18 occupants and, by virtue of a hallway physically linking it to the senior residence, will also share resources like kitchens, laundry rooms and services like physiotherapy.

Dismissal of CFd
Members of the plenary also voted unanimously to dissolve Formentera's development consortium, Consorci Formentera Desenvolupament (CFd). As president's office secretary Bartomeu Escandell pointed out, the CFd's executive board met for the last time on Friday, leaving the Council to take on the consortium's rights and obligations. The body's outstanding debts will now be divided between the two administrations. One €5.1m bill will be picked up by the Govern alone; another, for €1.9m, will be split 70-30 between Palma and Formentera. The money must fund renewal of heritage sites, new environment and sports infrastructure and urban improvements.

Councillor Escandell, citing among the CFd's past achievements their purchase of land for the Formentera hospital and Guardia Civil barracks and payment of road upgrades, called the CFd's dissolution “part of an effort to streamline local government”.

Representatives of all parties were united in support for a proposal from the Popular Party (PP) to clearly separate Eivissa and Formentera when collecting statistics at the administration level.

Wildfire prevention
The day's session also saw a green light for wildfire prevention measures proposed by the socialist party. Councillor Escandell highlighted yearly educational pushes by the Govern balear and Ibanat, the regional institute of nature, that enjoy the Council's cooperation, as well as some campaigns the Council heads up itself. The Council has been behind campaigns to encourage residents in forested areas to create safe zones. In the past, the administration teamed up with Ibanat to establish such a buffer in la Mola's es Ram neighbourhood.

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