You just knew that Charo Bañuls would have to respond to the criticism made by the Socialists about inadequate police cover in Bigastro. One newspaper describes her reaction as anger.
The Lady Mayor explains that in fact the problem in providing 24 hour cover by the police dates back to the previous socialist mandate. It seems that the local officers are owed 9,000 Euros for overtime undertaken between January and May and are understandably saying that they will not do any more until they are paid. As an aside, she adds that the bill of 10,000 Euros for the inauguration of the new police headquarters has not been paid either.
It appears that it is not just the police who are owed money. the Fire Brigade Consortium are owed 80,000 Euros for extra cover at the August fiesta which, at 6,000 Euros per year, means they haven’t been paid for over 13 years. They say that, unless they are paid, they will not cover the extra services required at the fiesta for San Joaquin. That would mean that e.g. the traditional fireworks in shopping trolleys on the last day of the fiesta won’t be able to take place this year.
Incredibly, Bañuls now estimates the total debt for Bigastro to be 18 million Euros and says that the economic problems that the town faces are largely due to mismanagement by the previous socialist mayor, Raúl Valerio Medina and his predecessor, José Joaquín Moya.
Let us hope that those figures are not correct and that I have simply misread them because that would represent a debt of over 2,571 Euros per head of population. I can’t begin to imagine how you would recover that sort of money.