Sicilian Region and waste abroad: lack of funds for Municipalities, a standoff.

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A maneuver to bring to the Assembly by April, before the European elections. About thirty million, no hold-ups, but only a few rules, such as the recapitalization of Ast and aid to farmers, to cover the most urgent requests. Among which, however, will not be the aid – just over 108 million – so eagerly awaited by the mayors to cover the extra costs of waste disposal abroad (60 million) and those of energy (48 million), which freeze the budgets of local governments. This was announced by the President of the Sicilian Region, Renato Schifani, who plans to bring the budget document to the Regional Assembly before the electoral round, when the deputies will be busy in their respective territories. And in this regard, Schifani himself explains: “I do not want a pre-election Assembly”.

Immediate response from the Anci, which, for months on the warpath, now considers it “very serious to approve a second maneuver before the elections, without having provided funds for the Municipalities”. “Also because – explains President Paolo Amenta – out of 391 Municipalities, by the deadline of March 15, only 44 have managed to approve budgets”. A very complicated situation, without those funds, there is a risk of blocking the machinery of local authorities. The head of Anci then asks for a meeting with Schifani and, if there is no “prompt response”, does not exclude “a permanent mobilization of mayors, to prevent the difficulties from being resolved once again, putting their hands in the pockets of citizens”.

But let’s go in order. One of the key rules of the maneuver is the recapitalization of Ast: 10 million allocated to provide the participating company with the liquidity necessary to transform it into an in-house company. There will then be aid to farmers, about 10 million, and probably also the replenishment of the fund for Agrigento Capital of Culture: initially the Schifani junta had planned 10 million but the Regional Assembly had reduced them to four.

“It will be a minimalist maneuver, not a major financial one – explains Schifani -. No hold-ups, only essential measures, using the small treasure (between 10 and 20 million) resulting from the unspent expenses related to the laws challenged by Rome”. To these funds, others could be added if the trend of last year’s tax revenues is confirmed. “The spike in 2023 allowed us to reduce the deficit – continues the president – and I am waiting for the first data from the Treasury, but we must be cautious in endorsing new expenses before the tax flows become official, because we cannot make a maneuver without coverage”.

Bad news, however, for the Municipalities: “As for the mayors’ requests – confirms Schifani – the hundred million is not there. We will listen to them if necessary, but at the moment these resources are not available. In September, with the budget adjustment, a better financial one can be made, when the picture of the sums committed and those not spent will be clear. What we are about to do now, instead, can only be done with the resources resulting from the expenses not made”.

Let’s take a step back. To compensate for the increase in costs incurred by mayors to send waste abroad, the Region had granted 45 million to the Municipalities. Funds that were revoked last November due to bureaucratic problems, “creating – resumes the Anci president – holes in the Municipalities’ budgets, forced to return these sums. There are then the 60 million that the government had undertaken to find and that are not yet available. And then there are another 48, related to the extra costs of energy. We are sorry – concludes Amenta – to have to acknowledge that all our appeals have fallen on deaf ears. We asked for a meeting with President Schifani, to find a solution, but to date we have not received any response. We are on the verge of default and a generalized increase in taxes and we remain disoriented by the silence of the regional government”.

translated into English

Regione Siciliana e rifiuti all’estero: mancano i soldi per i Comuni, è braccio di ferro

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