Ministry steps in to bail out debt-wracked municipality

The Interior Ministry pledged on Friday to release nearly 1 million euros to cover the unpaid salaries of protesting municipal workers in a suburb of eastern Attica who had threatened to shut down local authority services indefinitely.

A few hours after the Acharnes municipal council decided on an open-ended strike late on Thursday, Alternate Interior Minister Haralambos Athanassiou reassured Mayor Sotiris Douros that 900,000 euros would be disbursed for the workers? wages.

The gesture may have averted action that would inconvenience some 35,000 local residents, but Deputy Mayor Panayiotis Anagnostopoulos said it would not solve the problems of the municipality which — like many others — has accrued large debts.

Acharnes?s 130 million euros of debts is down to wasteful practices, Anagnostopoulos said. ?There was extensive recruitment, then loans were taken out to pay wages,? he said.

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