With the vote of the Council this morning – 19 yes and 4 abstentions – the process for the re-balancing plan of the municipal budget starts. The appeal lacks 73 million euros (essentially sums to be set aside for uncollected taxes) which, as the accountant general Paolo Bohuslav Basile writes, “under current legislation does not allow the approval of the budget”. The procedure launched, the so-called pre-instability procedure, provides that the administration brings to the Council a plan of cuts of about 80 million per year for the next ten years, which must be voted within 90 days and in any case no later than 31 December.
At present an impossible undertaking. “Since it is not possible to find any corrective rebalancing measures – the accountant always writes in the resolution – it must be stated that the entity is in a situation in which there are insufficient own resources”. In other words, the bottom of the barrel has already been scraped off and there is no money. So? Hopes are pinned on help from Rome, read the Council of Ministers. The State-Region Joint Commission will meet next week to address the issue of Sicilian municipalities (about 250) that are unable to close their budgets. In discussions with the Region, the Anci has put on the scale three possible solutions to get out of the ford, which will now be submitted to the government: disbursement of funds to cover debts, debts spread over several years, however freeing the part of the provisions for compulsory expenses or a transfer to the State of the credits not recovered by Riscossione Sicilia in exchange for a percentage immediately. The government will also be asked to postpone the deadlines for the approval of the 2021 budget to November 30. “The paradox of this story – explains the parent company of Forza Italia, Giulio Tantillo – is that the Municipality has the 2020 report in balance but, due to the provisions provided for by law, it is unable to approve the forecast”. This is because Palazzo delle Aquile is unable to collect taxes and is forced to resort to treasury advances, which involve an outlay for interest. Hence the decision of the mayor Leoluca Orlando, shared by the council, to opt for the pre-failure: a procedure that can be revoked at any time and which does not provide for the sending of a commissioner, unless the Council does not reject the administration plan and is declared the instability. “The point – Tantillo always reports – is that if everyone had to go home, the council and the council, the new administration would still not be in a position to make the necessary cuts to rebalance the accounts. The accountant in fact certified that, under current legislation, we cannot take stock. We would therefore be back to back and the Council would be dissolved again “. This is why the help from Rome becomes decisive. The pre-failure procedure, however, cannot be stopped and, as mentioned, the times are quite limited. On the basis of an amendment to the rebalancing resolution, proposed by the director Ugo Forello (Oso group), within a week the general accountant will update the Chamber on any cuts to be made to compensate for the imbalance and within a month the general manager will have to draw up a relationship. Instead, it will be up to the Executive to bring the draft plan to the Council within 45 days, which will have to vote on it within another 45 days. Time that, in the strategy of Mayor Orlando, should be used to convince the Council of Ministers to launch an ad hoc decree for the Sicilian municipalities and to revoke the pre-failure procedure. Meanwhile Orlando points the finger at Riscossione Sicilia: “The fight against tax evasion has become a boomerang that turns against all the Sicilian municipalities that are victims of this unsuccessful management. The municipal administration has already started the procedures to assert civil and accounting responsibilities and penalties of Riscossione Sicilia. But it is in the conditions, by virtue of a national law, of having to set aside the sums requested from taxpayers which, although ascertained by the municipality, are not collected by the regional body. This situation concerns the city of Palermo as well as others 250 Sicilian municipalities that cannot close their budgets. Without considering the approximately 100 Sicilian municipalities that are in trouble or plan to return “. “The gravity and specificity of the Sicilian municipalities, including that of Palermo, – confirms the mayor – is the subject of a procedure being compared between the national and regional government and Anci Sicilia, the results of which may influence, lighten or even make it no longer necessary the use of the rebalancing procedure in the next 90 days “. In the same vein, the councilor for the budget Sergio Marino, who adds: “I am aware of the difficulties that await us, but I trust that the work of the managers, coordinated by the general manager, supported by the political and strategic guidelines that the Giunta will give, it will allow to arrive at a bearable and balanced result “. The reactions “The Orlando administration – says Dario Chinici, parent company of Italia Viva – will have to present a plan of cuts while the city is dealing with bad roads, light services, especially the registry ones, and accounts in deep red. The resolution sanctions the bankruptcy. of Orlando and an administration that is deaf to the appeals launched by politics but also by the Court of Auditors. And since it is evident that the junta will not be able to present a credible plan, the only solution is the resignation of the mayor and the return to urns “. Thus the councilor Leonardo Canto: “Today, Action and Europe vote in favor of the resolution that authorizes the offices to prepare the budget rebalancing. The criticism of this disastrous administration remains firm but the alternative would be the declaration of instability with devastating consequences for the city “. Roughly the same reasoning of the Common Left: “Recourse to the budget rebalancing procedure – says the parent company Barbara Evola – is the only possible and sensible way to avoid the financial distress of the Municipality that would have disastrous repercussions for the entire city community : from the tightening of local taxes to the freezing of personnel policies, to the dizzying increase in services on individual demand. I hope that the open dialogue with the national government can lead, in a very short time, to a solution for Palermo and for all those Municipalities that to date have not been able to close their budgets. It is paradoxical, in fact, that Palermo risks collapse due to over-credit. “. On opposite positions Brothers of Italy: “The Municipality of Palermo – says the group leader Francesco Scarpinato – is in trouble, the accounts are running out of water on all sides and to avoid bankruptcy the mayor Orlando has well thought of leaving the cuts for almost a billion spread over ten years, mortgaging the future of the young people of this city. Today we abstained on a resolution that will cripple the already fragile economic recovery of small and medium-sized enterprises and will cause an increase in taxes and a cut in services. situation due solely and only to the bad governance of recent years, to the administration’s inability to solve problems, to the obstinacy of the Professor who, in order not to leave his chair, has brought Palermo into the abyss. Orlando has no more alternatives, go away and free the city from bad administration that citizens do not deserve “.