Gov’t backs down from municipal merger plan
The Cabinet approved a bill tabled by the Ministry of the Interior on Tuesday that paves the way for the restructuring of the local authorities, but will not reduce the number of municipalities, as had originally been planned.
Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos said in a press statement this was an issue which has been raised and debated for years, it has been addressed by the Troika of international lenders as part of the wider reform plans and now it will be debated at the House of Representatives.
Hasikos noted that the issue has been part of discussions with all political parties and other interested parties for two years, adding that the necessary consensus has been reached. He expressed hope that the bill will be approved by the parliament before the end of the year. He said the approval of the bill will mean more savings and that all services for the citizens will concentrate in one place.
The minister noted that the Council also approved the introduction of a uniform taxation on property, to avoid multiple taxation from the local authorities and the central government.
He added that the money to be collected for the property taxation, estimated at over 100 mln euros, will form the basis for the local authorities’ autonomy.
He added that “the number of the municipalities and the community councils will not be reduced,” however the number of the members of their councils will be reduced.