Socialist Party (PS) and CDU abstained on the Grand Options of the Plan (GOP) and Budget for 2024 of the Coimbra City Council (CMC).
A budget that José Manuel Silva considered “almost zero-based”, clearer, as it follows the new structure of the City Council and with significant growth, through investment in Social Housing, an area that benefits from approved applications for European funds.
The president of Coimbra City Council, José Manuel Silva, in his final statements to the media, expressed incomprehension at the opposition’s abstention.
Miguel Fonseca, councilor responsible for the economy, did not hide the constraints and the environment of “high unpredictability and serious risks” in which the 2024 budget was prepared. Two wars very close to Europe, (Ukraine and Israel-Palestine) cycles of rising interest rates and levels of inflation not experienced for decades, were pointed out as having caused an increase in spending.
For the councilor, there are three highlights of the GOP and Budget for 2024.
Regina Bento from PS asked two questions. The first is related to the growth of around 60 million in the budget compared to 2023. In housing alone, 40 million will be invested in a single year, mentioned the socialist councilor. She also asked what miracle will happen in 2024 that will allow this amount to be executed, since over the last five years the investment has been around 20 million.
The second issue concerns bank loans, already approved by the executive, but which still require approval from the Court of Auditors.
In her declaration of vote, Regina Bento once again accused the Juntos Somos Coimbra coalition of “not fulfilling electoral promises”.
Despite recognizing some advances in the GOP and the 2024 Budget, the councilor elected by the CDU, Francisco Queirós, did not approve the document but also did not make it unfeasible. Francisco Queirós oversees the areas of the Veterinary Medical Service, Libraries and Archives, Green Spaces and Gardens and is the only opposition councilor with assigned areas of responsibility.
The CDU councilor does not envisage policies such as increasing human resources in deficient areas in the guiding document. He also regretted that the Cultural Policy is limited to what he called “touristification” and that the areas that benefit most are only those that benefit from external financing. The councilor would like to see in the 2024 budget an increase in funds for some of the areas he oversees.
In this budget there is an increase in funds for some parishes due to the acceptance of skills in the area of cleaning and creating sidewalks. For example, the cleaning of green spaces in primary and secondary schools was transferred to parishes that accepted them, in the case of urban parishes, hence there are more funds for these parishes, explained Ana Cortez Vaz.
The SMTUC Budget and GOP were also approved with votes in favor of the Juntos Somos Coimbra coalition. PS and CDU abstained.
Ana Bastos, councilor who oversees the SMTUC, presented the evolution scenario of the municipalized company in which from 2025, as a result of the departure of drivers, mechanics and other employees, if there are no admissions, the company will have serious difficulties in its operation.
With the abstention of the two largest political forces of the opposition, no major shocks are expected at the Municipal Assembly where the documents will be discussed again and subject to approval by the 51 municipal deputies. Yesterday, Monday, at the executive meeting, the document was approved by the majority that governs the Municipality, the Juntos Somos Coimbra coalition.