THE seemingly never-ending saga over a new health centre for Arboleas took a new twist when the construction company tried to quit.
During 2007-2009, the previous PSOE council commissioned the centre with the Junta de Andalucia regional government providing €100,000 towards the project.
When the new PP council took over in 2011, work had not started in earnest, the architect had not been paid, and the €100,000 was missing.
The Junta agreed to pay more in instalments, but to date nothing has been received, so Arboleas Council has been funding the project itself, €500,000 so far. The council has made arrangements for a bridging loan to finish the work by the end of 2014.
Albaida SA, the construction company contracted to complete the works, had been kept abreast of the situation. So it came as a surprise to the council when they received a fax from Albaida announcing the termination of the contract, and demanding €190,000 in unpaid bills and compensation.
For every €100 paid to Albaida by Arboleas Council for the centre, €30 was to be set aside by Albaida for work in addition to the health centre (a day centre). As far as the council is concerned, the contractor is not out of pocket due to the minimal amount of work carried out on the day centre.
A private architect was requested by the council to oversee the project and give his financial assessment of the situation. The architect’s findings agreed with the council.
Council members voted unanimously this week to reject the request. Arboleas Mayor Cristobal Garcia said: “In analysing the situation we saw that there are no grounds for termination of the contract legally. That is the only reason the council would consider it.”