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HomeSpainCosta BlancaOrihuela's 2024 Budget Sees Major Increase for Coastal Investment

Orihuela’s 2024 Budget Sees Major Increase for Coastal Investment

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Following confirmation of the 2024 Orihuela budget, agreed just over a week ago
at a special plenary meeting of the municipal council, more details have now
been released with regard to its breakdown. The new budget for the financial
year totals 140,534,089.19 euros, compared to 80,384,314.99 euros when it was
last set in 2018. That represents an increase in both income and expenditure of
60,149,774.20 euros, a percentage of 74.83%. After running costs, the largest
amount in the difference is that of Real Investments which  amount to
40,933,211.67 euros of which we now have an itemisation of how it will all be
spent. Of the 40.9 million euros, it is divided into 22.4 million for the city
and districts (53.3%), 12.6 million for the coast (30%) and 6.8 million for
miscellaneous services that will benefit the whole municipality (16.4%). Pie
chart showing the allocation of funding for investments (Courtesy AVCRL) Whilst
the amount allocated to the coast is far from ideal, with many residents
thinking that it is still not enough, arguing that it should be equal to the
percentage allocated to the city and districts, after its perceived abandonment
over many years, the figure and its breakdown has been largely met with nods of
approval and some degree of satisfaction by coastal bodies and associations. On
its Facebook page AVCRL says that ‘this is great news for the municipality that
is in dire need of funds to renovate its basic, insufficient, outdated and
failing infrastructure, after six years of not approving a budget’. The largest
investment in the entire municipality is to be made on the coast, the new
drinking water tank at a cost of 2.8 million. There is the promise of a walkway
over the AP-7 (1.3 million) and a new civic centre and auditorium are also
planned (1,1 million). Each costing over a million euros, the coast is promised
the replacement of trees and palm trees, new urban furniture and improved access
walkways to beaches, together with the tarmacking of many of its roads. There
will be half a million euros spent on the renovation and replacement of public
lighting, the acquisition and installation of three new lifts for access to the
beaches at Punta Prima, La Caleta and Barranco Rubio, to provide accessibility
for people with reduced mobility, costing 250,000 euros, while 440,000 euros
will be spent on public toilet modules on promenades and areas permanently
attached to the beaches. The amount of 600,000 euros is also included to
expropriate the land currently owned by the Bellavista urbanisation in order to
reopen the walkway between Cabo Roig and Aguamarina. Also included is the second
phase in the construction of the Orihuela Costa Emergency Centre costing 1.1
million, despite the fact that the first phase is still only partially in use.
What is still missing however, is a cemetery, the stormwater master plan, the
Aguamarina storm tank, including a solution for the regular flooding of the
children’s park, an overnight parking area for motorhomes, a Day Centre, an
industrial estate, the construction of social housing, improvements to the areas
sporting facilities and the reorganization of the bus stops, all of which
appeared in the PP’s election manifesto. With the actual number of inhabitants
(around 100,000), and the severe deterioration of coastal infrastructure, AVCRL
has said that the percentage of the monies allocated should be around 50% of the
total budget, however the 13 million euros allocated is, nevertheless, an
important window of opportunity to improve the infrastructure on the coast. As
the budget is unlikely to be available to spend until well into May or June,
just six months before the end of the year for bidding, awarding and executing,
priorities will now have to be set based on neighbourhood demands and the
capacity of the Contracting Department to put the contracts in place, from the
approval of the budget until the end of the year. The yellow shaded area shows
investments in the coast Images: Spreadsheets and pie chart courtesy of AVCRL

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