THE new mayor of Velez-Malaga, Francisco Delgado, has found himself faced with a series of problems since he took up the position.
Not only is the town deep in debt, but it is losing grants because work is not going ahead. This lack of funds has brought with it not only the possible suspension of the tram service, but also the end, for now, of the bike hire service started three months ago.
Travelsa, the company running the tram service, is owed around €2m and has made it clear that if the town hall doesn’t pay, the service will be suspended from July 7.
The town hall met with the company, but so far, no agreement has been reached to prevent this, or the 22 people who work for them being laid off. However, the parties do plan to meet again on Monday.
Delgado told the local transport companies that the town hall intends to pay 25 per cent of the debt while arranging for the Junta de Andalucia to maintain their promise to provide €4.5m which the town hall would have to pay back over 15 years.
Meanwhile, the free bike hire service which began in April after the bikes being locked away for six months because there was no system in place to prevent robberies, has ceased once again. Ninety-eight bikes have been damaged through use and vandalism, and now, there are only two available, although there are 3,000 people registered to use them.
The youth council pays €1,500 per month to a company for the upkeep of the bikes, but this does not include replacing parts. As there is no budget to repair them, they will remain at the Local Police station until a solution is found.
In Torre del Mar, plans to make the centre into an Open-Air Shopping Area will not go ahead as the €137,500 grant received from the Junta in July 2009 has been taken back as it should have been finished by April last year.
Photo credit: Ruth Espallargas