A Malaga city council meeting in a file photo. :: SUR
The central government recently revealed the content of the new municipal reform bill drawn up by the Ministry of Tax and Local Administration. Among other measures the bill abolishes salaries for mayors of villages with fewer than 1,000 inhabitants.
This would affect a quarter of all the municipalities in the province of Malaga. Of a total of 101, 25 have a population of less than a thousand. Some of their mayors, however, are already carrying out their municipal duties for nothing or are earning a symbolic salary.
The reform’s aim is to save more than seven billion euros in 2013-2015. It establishes that 82 per cent of local councillors across the country will earn no basic salary. Currently in the province there are 1,203 councillors in the 101 town halls. Now the only income 986 of them will be able to claim from the public coffers will be in the form of expenses for attending council meetings.
In practice, however, little will change in the town halls of most smaller municipalities in Malaga, where the majority of councillors are not paid for their municipal services.
On the city council, though, only 22 of 31 councillors will be paid a salary, leaving some currently on the payroll to rely on their “day job”.
The Provincial government (Diputación) is also included in the reform, with only 17 out of 31 representatives allowed to receive a salary. Currently there are 18 salaried ‘deputies’ for the Partido Popular alone.
The maximum salary earned by a mayor will also be fixed in the new regulations. The Government has used the salary earned by a secretary of State (between 95,000 and 100,000 euros a year) as a guide. Now the mayor of a city with more than 500,000 inhabitants can earn up to that amount, and this ceiling is reduced proportionally according to different population brackets. The mayor of a town with between 1,001 and 2,000 inhabitants will earn no more than 20 per cent of the secretary of state’s salary.
The reform bill also regulates the number of special advisors appointed by the mayors and councillors while they are in office.
These can only represent 0.7 per cent of the municipal workforce in cities with more than 500,000 inhabitants while for populations of between 75,000 and 500,000 there must not be more advisors than councillors.