An underground car park that never opened and a block of social flats that was left in a chimera are the tip of the iceberg of the economic ruin that during the last decade has haunted the City of Moià, and by extension its 6,383 inhabitants. This Barcelona municipality, which after the 2008 crisis, was one of the most indebted in Spain, is breathing again.
Under the mandate of the previous mayor, not only ruinous and useless works were carried out, but mobile bills, coffees and dinners were paid uncontrollably in a spiral of spending that raised the debt to 395% of municipal GDP. Currently, the level of indebtedness is 15%. This small economic miracle has not been without controversy and has left scars: 40% of the municipal staff have been laid off, the music school was closed and, in general, everything that supposed an expense for a treasury that came to pay up to 3,000 euros a year in coffees.
The plenary session of the City Council approved on Wednesday to liquidate the loan of eight million that Moià had with the Treasury and with this step it becomes one of the least indebted towns. Dionís Guiteras is the architect of the feat. He won, with a candidacy from ERC, the elections in 2011, replacing the historic convergent Josep Montràs, who had governed since 1983. The new mayor found a bankrupt Administration. “I don’t know if we were the most indebted municipality in the State, but we were sure that we were in the Champions area… ”, the mayor ironized on Thursday. The annual budget of the municipality was around seven million euros and the debt exceeded 25.5 million (3,995 euros per inhabitant).
“In the box there were only cobwebs. Management prior to ours was clearly based on waste, ”Guiteras laments. The Montràs government team bought the old Civil Guard barracks. The intention was to make social floors. None were made. A parking lot was built in the ambulatory square, which is still closed today. “When I arrived, opening the City Hall cost 3,000 euros a day,” laments the mayor. Winning the election was a poisoned candy. “We had to change the entire Consistory. Rationalize phone lines, cars, the library model. When I arrived, there was a printer at each table instead of one per floor ”, recalls the mayor. Although those changes were not the hardest. “I had to fire 40 municipal employees. I have fired friends and neighbors, unfortunately those who had the weakest contractual relationship ”, he confesses. When he won the elections in the municipality there were 15 local policemen. Today there are only five left.
The excesses of Montràs were not a secret. In 2011, the Moià Debt-Affected Neighborhood Association was created. One of its activists, Dídac Rimoldi, sums up what it was like in those years: “Montràs was a permissive mayor with comprehensive mismanagement. You could see him at the party with a cigar and a drink and with dozens of people having dinner at the City Hall. Nothing was done in the village. We do not have equipment, there is no indoor swimming pool … but, at the same time, the neighbors were doing works without municipal permission ”.
Currently, the debt is 700,000 euros (110 euros per neighbor). Guiteras regrets having become a mere “manager”, and it will be from now on when he becomes a “mayor” with a political project. “I do not know if it is time to lower the IBI,” he says.