The Municipal Assembly of Silves has questioned the ombudsman about the merging of parishes in Silves to follow government policy of cutting the costs of parish councils in the country by reducing the number of parishes in each area.
The BE party presented a motion to the Municipal Assembly stating that the merging of Algoz and Tunes parish councils may be illegal and the motion was approved unanimously by the Assembly.
Currently Silves municipality comprises of eight different parishes, three being urban and the remaining five being classed as rural. Plans to cut the number of parishes in each municipality would see Silves losing two parishes.
However, the BE party claim that the entity responsible for making the changes in the area have misinterpreted the law when choosing which parishes to lose.
The entire case is based on the classification of each parish and in the case of Silves all the parishes have been classed as rural in the changes which is not the actual situation in the area.
The closure of parish councils across Portugal has been a controversial one with many people being worried that they will lose out if powers are moved away from local areas and instead are taken to larger areas.
Each municipality was asked to come up with a plan to try and cut the number of parish councils in their area with certain criteria needing to be met to allow a parish council to survive including the distance of the parish from the administrative centre and the number of inhabitants in the area.
In Silves it is being claimed that merging Alcantarilha with Pêra would be an “abuse” of this criteria while in Tunes the BE party claim that the parish is too big and too far away from Silves itself to be lost or merged.
The BE party refer in their statement to the green paper which states that any parish that has a minimum of 150 inhabitants may continue to exist under the new rules – a rule which clearly applies to the areas in question in Silves.
The case of which parish councils will be merged, lost or will remain continues on in Silves as it does in many other municipalities in Portugal and so far the government has failed to save any money from the move which may end up costing more money in time spent discussing and deliberating about the entire situation.