Castalla presents the 2021 budgets with a marked social character to combat the crisis generated by the COVID-19

  • The importance of social services and the lowering of taxes for citizens are the most notable features of a budget of 9,077,399 euros

The Mayor of Castalla, Antonio Bernabeu, together with the Councillors for Social Services, Maite Gimeno, and the Treasury, Gema Sánchez, today presented the draft Municipal Budget for 2021. The Castalla Council will have a budget of 9,077,399.04 euros, with a markedly social character to combat the crisis generated by the COVID-19 and which is expected to be approved in a plenary session tomorrow.

The Councillor for Finance reported that the document had been drawn up with “rigour and based on effective financial management so that citizens can enjoy quality public services”. In this sense, he stressed that “this year, as in previous years, we have placed social policies in our priority.

The Mayor of Castalla valued the budgets as “responsible, transparent and social accounts” prepared with the aim of “achieving organic and constant growth of our city”. The budget is balanced between the two masses of assets, income and expenditure, in the amount of 9,077,399.04 euros.

Social Services, Public Safety and Sports account for about one third of the budget

The government team has decided to increase investment in Social Services – which includes the areas of Social Welfare, Housing and Equality -, with an item of 653,575.95 euros, which is equivalent to 7.20% of the budget in Castellón. This means an increase of 114,734.80 euros compared to the 538,841.15 that was planned for these departments in 2020.

The Councillor for Social Services, Maite Gimeno, recalled “the importance of Social Services in a year in which we have worked hard not to leave any of Castalla’s residents behind because of the impact of the Covid-19”. Along the same lines, the head of the social area continued, “in 2021 we are going to continue our efforts to ensure that the health, economic and social crisis of the coronavirus does as little damage as possible to the people of our town”.

Another important item is that referring to citizen security, which amounts to 889,646.05 euros (9.80% of the total budget). In this section two new posts have been created for local police officers, so the staff will have 16 agents, 3 officers and a chief inspector. A similar expenditure is allocated to Sports. The item for this area is 887,863.30 euros, which represents 9.78% of the total.

Lowering of taxes for citizens

The reduction of taxes for citizens is one of the signs of identity of the municipal government of Castalla. Following this policy, the budget for the year 2021 includes a reduction in the Property Tax (IBI). From 2016 until now, the Council has stopped collecting approximately 4,800,000 euros, which have been left in the pockets of the families in the town, which means a saving of 32% in the payment of this tax. The inheritance tax rebate has also been maintained, with up to 95% of the amount to be paid to those affected.

On the other hand, in 2021 the Town Hall again cancelled the taxes for the occupation of the public streets of the terraces of bars and restaurants. This is a further sign of support for this sector, which has been particularly affected by the impact of the pandemic, and will be able to save around 13,000 euros with this measure.

RdP Presupuestos Castalla (1)

Education and Culture

For its part, investment in culture will represent 5% of the municipal budget, 456,444.22 euros. As far as Education is concerned, 418,583.37 euros have been reserved for this item this year, equivalent to 4.60%. The Councillor for Finance has advanced that, in this section, highlights the new position of language teacher for the school for adults that has been created by the City Council. This, she said, “puts an end to the uncertainty of recent years over the continuity of non-regulated training in English or French classes, among other languages.

Commitment to environmental and energy efficiency and modernisation

Another firm commitment of the Town Hall is the Environment. In accordance with this, 20,000 euros will be allocated to invest in actions and projects related to environmental policies to conserve the natural bases of Castalla and advance sustainable development. The increase in this item is significant, reaching 50% and doubling the money available compared to last year.

The Mayor of the town, Antonio Bernabeu, has stressed the importance of this matter and has assured that “during this legislature we are going to allocate the necessary resources to advance in the environmental and energy sustainability of Castalla”. As an example, the mayor highlighted the recent installation of the first two electric vehicle recharging points in the municipality, a factor that could encourage tourism among users of this means of transport.

Likewise, the Corporation continues with its policy of modernizing and improving the computer systems and municipal technology. To this end, the Mayor said, “10,000 euros have been allocated to carry out various improvements which, although not as visible, allow us to make progress in our internal work and optimise the service we provide. This is an investment that, in the end, has a positive effect on the quality and speed of the services that citizens receive”.

On the other hand, the Parks and Gardens area has experienced a notable increase of 20,000 euros this year and will have 282,276.79 euros, equivalent to 3.11% of all items. The Mayor has reinforced the government team’s intention to increase the number of green areas in Castalla, improve the existing ones and make progress in the accessibility of the pavements.

Tourism, Trade and Festivals

The Tourism and Trade area will have 187,572.48 euros for the next financial year, or 2.04%. The head of Commerce, Maite Gimeno, said that “we are going to allocate 40,000 euros to promoting a new edition of gift cards to encourage local consumption, an initiative that has been very well received this year”. For its part, according to the forecast, the Festivities department has 173,500 euros, equivalent to 1.91% of the annual budget.

In this area, it is worth noting the commitment to the San Isidro Fair, which has been increased by 40,000 euros, which adds 130,000 euros to the budget for this event, which could not be held this year due to the pandemic but which the City Council wants to make a provincial reference. Therefore, there is a company that specializes in organizing this type of event to “give the fair the importance it requires and to act as an economic engine,” in the words of the mayor.

Planned investments and upcoming projects

In addition to the above, Castalla Town Hall is planning to undertake a series of investments and projects which, due to their nature, cannot be included in the initial budgets for 2021. However, as the Mayor states, “we hope to be able to carry out with the new spending rules, the investments coming from the remaining cash flow using it in a reasonable way, without decapitalising the Town Hall and taking advantage of the subsidies coming from the County Council, the Regional Ministry and the Central Government”.

In this section, it is worth highlighting the Sports Pavilion project, the new Health Centre and the completion of the ‘Plan Edificant’ – financed entirely with 2.1 million euros by the Valencian Government. The Council also aims to complete the adaptation of the building for associations, the fitting out of the old people’s home and the new land for industrial estates, and the completion of the Castalla Internacional water treatment plant.

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