The new Castalla government reveals that it only has 17% of the budget available until the end of the year

  • Jesús López’s team has earmarked 735,453 euros from the surplus – savings – to deal with emergencies such as the Cow, Moors and Christians Festivities and other payments of outstanding invoices from the previous government
  • The councillor for Finance assures that the previous municipal authorities have executed 83% of the budget between January and July

Castalla Town Council has already used up 83% of the 9,144,404 euros of the municipal budget for 2023, which means that there are zero budget items despite the fact that there is practically half a year to go before the new budget is approved. This was explained at a press conference by the Mayor of the city, Jesús López Blanco, and the Councillor for Finance, Raquel García, who gave an account of the state of the municipal accounts which they found after taking office in June, just a month and a half ago. They also indicated that it had been necessary to use part of the remaining cash reserves – existing savings – to undertake urgent expenses that had not been foreseen by the previous municipal managers.

Jesús López explained that “we have seen how a large part of the Town Hall’s annual budget, around 83% of current spending, has already been executed as of 20 July, according to the data provided by the municipal audit department”. Thus, the mayor added, “we find ourselves with economic items without funds to undertake the expenses needed until the end of the year, so our management will be conditioned by this situation, as we have to meet the expenses committed beforehand, but without the money allocated for this purpose”.

Notwithstanding the figures certified by the municipal Comptroller, López Blanco has guaranteed the collection of invoices “to all suppliers who work for the council” and has reported that “we will do whatever is necessary and all the changes that the law allows us to develop services and provide the attention needed by the citizens of Castalla until the implementation of a new realistic budget and adapted to the needs of our town next year.

For her part, the councillor for Finance, Raquel García, has highlighted the expenditure made in the most representative items up to the end of May. In the area of Public Safety and Mobility, Street Cleaning and the Environment, which had a total budget of 1,011,198.15 euros, 89.76% has already been spent and only 103,559.87 euros are available to finish the year.

In Education, Culture and Sport, accounting grouped in several items, the City Council had 1,102,201.03 euros, of which it has already executed 88.38%, or in other words, a total of 974,166.78 euros. Therefore, the Consistory has 128,034.25 euros at its disposal in this department. Another representative item is that of Commerce and Tourism, with an appropriation of 34,000 euros, already 99.81% executed. The Department of Tourism has only 66 euros at its disposal.

Regarding the area of Fiestas, Castalla has spent 158,038.61 euros of the 164,011.27 euros, or 96.36% of the total. In this case, the mayor and also councillor for the area explained that “it is striking, as the big fiestas in our town are held in August and September, with the celebrations of Vaca and Moros y Cristianos respectively, and we have found ourselves with 5,972 euros in the till, or in other words, almost the entire budget spent without having contracted more than some basic services for the celebrations”. Despite these figures, López insisted that “we are going to work to ensure that our fiestas do not suffer as a result of this management and that we can enjoy them in all their splendour”.

On the other hand, the councillor, Raquel García, pointed out that the cost of the San Isidro Fair, which amounts to 204,195.31 euros, has grown considerably over the last few years.

The surplus will fall from 5,275,454 to 2,065,300 between 2015 and July 2023
Raquel García explained that the surplus, which is the money saved by previous Corporations and which can be used since the modification of the spending rule, was 5,275,454.81 euros in 2015 and has fallen to 2,065,301.50 euros in 2023, which is 3.2 million euros less.

Raquel García explained that “due to the state of the municipal accounts, the government team has had to use 735,453.48 euros of the surplus in 2023 to undertake municipal expenses that we have yet to cover until the end of the year”.

For all these reasons, summarised the councillor for Finance, “the Town Hall currently has 2,065,301.50 euros in surplus cash”, although she also asked the citizens of Castalla to have “confidence and patience to gradually fix this adverse economic situation”.

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