Arturo Grima, the flamboyant Mayor of Turre, has held a press conference this morning to announce that he is to hold a meeting today in Almería, to discuss the outstanding payment of 317.000€ the town is owed by the Ministry of Work, and, before getting into his car, promised reporters he would “lock himself in” until he sees the receipt of the bank transfer.
Turre townhall has spent 436.000€ on different projects using the local “taller de empleo”, where locals carry out odd jobs. Of that, 75% was supposed to have been paid by Andalucias work ministry. So far, not a penny has been paid, and the locals want to cash their pay cheques.
Arturo told reporters that the townhall has paid 160,000€ of the outstanding amount from its “emergency reserves” (what? they’re 5 million in debt!) but that this money must be paid asap from the government.
However, local head of Work, Francisca Pérez, told Europa Press that the Mayor “just wants a political confrontation for the camaras”, and added that the townhall hasn’t repaid monies it owes the government (about 43,000€) from projects dating in 2009 and 2010. She also accues Turre of not having filed the paperwork properly over the last few years, meaning the projects cannot go ahead.
“It’s up to the Mayor” said Francisca. “If he pays ball with us, returns the money from these projects, allowing us to close previous years budgets, then we can release the money for this year. We cannot just hand him blank cheques without the proper paperwork being filed, and due process being followed”.
Events will be followed with interest. Arturo’s a big lad, so it may take quite a few Guardia to shift him… or, indeed, a small tractor.