Thursday, September 28, 2023, 3:26 p.m.
Orihuela will once again charge the fee for occupancy of public roads starting next year. This was announced by the Councilor for Education and Commerce, Vicente Pina, during the ordinary plenary session this Thursday. The issue came to the agenda following a motion proposed by Ciudadanos to definitively consolidate the elimination of this tax, which mainly affects the terraces of bars and restaurants. The rate has been suspended since 2020, when its temporary suspension was approved as a measure to help the hospitality industry due to the economic consequences that the pandemic had on the sector.
“The possibility of everyone being together and without a mask has already been opened,” alleged Councilor Pina. Despite showing his understanding of the “attractiveness” of the hospitality industry to promote tourism, he argued that the current situation has drawbacks, among which he cited: “grievance between sectors, conflict between bars and residents, noise in neighboring homes, loss of space on sidewalks and parking and loss of municipal income and its effects on public services.
Some arguments that he extracted from the amendment presented by the PSOE, which although he did not see it as logical to cancel the rate forever, he did welcome extending its suppression for another year. However, the proposal was also rejected. In that sense, Pina pointed out that the current situation has favored a lack of control in the occupation of public roads and gave as an example what happened a week ago in the bars on Castellón Street, which could not put up their terraces because they did not renew their permits. Furthermore, he defended that the rate “is not excessive.”
The announcement was not well received by the opposition, with the exception of Cambiemos. The municipal party agreed with the councilor and the Government that continuing with the bonus, contemplated during an exceptional situation, means “leaving a municipal competence such as the planning of public roads in the hands of a private company.”
On the other hand, PSOE and Ciudadanos warned of a certain hypocrisy in the government team’s position with respect to what was promised in the campaign. The orange spokesperson, José Aix, alluded in this sense to the fact that Vox promised a reduction in the tax burden and, however, has supported recovering a rate that was suspended. The socialists, in that sense, criticized the fact that the current executive was not even able to approve their amendment to extend the suppression of the rate for another year.
In the motion, Ciudadanos defended that the elimination of this tax, in the first instance, only meant a 0.12% decrease in the income of municipal coffers. “An irrelevant amount” for the City Council’s budgetary needs, defends the oranges, while “there are many more indirect benefits that it brings to the city.”
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