NEWS

City budget approved in hotel due to sitin

As municipal contract workers pushed on with a second week of a sit-in protest at City Hall on Monday, a slashed municipal budget was approved – in a vote boycotted by opposition councilors – at a central Athens hotel.

The 19-million-euro budget – 25 percent leaner than last year – was approved by 28 of the 49 council members.

All the opposition councilors boycotted the vote apart from the bicycle-riding television presenter Giorgos Amyras who attended to vote against the cutbacks.

Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis conceded that it was ?a tight budget? that would be executed alongside a drive aimed at collecting outstanding fines and charges.

As for the fact that his council was forced to vote in a hotel, he remarked, ?The conditions of a sit-in allow do not guarantee security for municipal councilors nor do they allow them to freely express their opinion through their vote.?

Of the 19 million euros set aside for the municipality this year, 3.2 million euros is to go toward renovating three Athens squares – Aghios Thomas, Mesolongiou and Athanassiou Diakou.

Another 2.6 million is to go to the maintenance of school buildings while around 3.6 million euros has been set aside for fixing broken sidewalks and resurfacing roads.

Meanwhile many municipal projects already launched have been suspended indefinitely because of unpaid dues to contractors and suppliers. City Hall owes an estimated 77.3 million euros to third parties.

Aggravating the situation, according to the municipality?s general secretary, Theodoris Livanios, City Hall is not in a position to take out new loans as it already has borrowed more than 220 million euros.