The initiative is being organized by Terra e Acqua. “This is our idea of a participatory budget. We want to involve two thousand people”
By Marta Artico
9 April 2022
MESTRE. The ‘Bosco dello Sport’(‘The Forest of Sport’, the rebranded ‘green’ project for the sports complex being planned by the Brugnaro administration)? “A project come from the top, decided by the Metropolitan City and presented by the Mayor with a marketing operation, which will leave the citizens of Venice in debt for the next 29 years. So on Saturday we will begin on the ground consulting with the population”.
City Councilor Marco Gasparinetti (Terra e Acqua) does not mince words. “190 million Euro (plus interest) of the 283 destined for the mega project is money from the city budget, money that is all of ours; 95 million in debt and 95 million from the budget surplus and Special Law funding that will go to the sports complex, money which could be useful elsewhere, but these priorities will be lost, sacrificed for this operation, which is the only one for which Venice is requesting funding from the NRP”.
In Mestre, Venice and through Marghera multiple-choice questionnaires can be filled out and signed presenting an identity card, in gazebos that have been set up ad hoc. Starting Monday this idea of “participatory budget” will also be available in stores. The objective? To get the opinions of at least two thousand people and to propose variations and amendments in Council before the project is approved, with a deadline of April 20. “The loan for 95 million provides for a 29 year payoff, which means future administrations will be bound by this decision, and so it’s appropriate to consult the residents and ask them what other priorities should instead be considered, given that at the moment we have a free budget surplus that could be spent on public housing and services, and based on the situation in which we find ourselves – war, crisis, increased costs and bills. In a few days, when the boats are full of people, will they still say that there is no money for extra routes?”
Gasparinetti follows the money. “Less than a tenth of what is planned will arrive in Venice, and the only project we are working on is the sports complex. 90 million for the building, 82 for the stadium, 46 for infrastructure, 40 for transportation and roads, and 11 million for the Forest. The rest is from expropriations, for a total of 283 million”. The councilor goes on to detail the financing methods: “The 2021 budget surplus is still to be voted on, 78 million of the 91 available to go to the sports complex; 17 million from the special law, so in total 95 million from the municipal budget. And another 95 million through a 29 -ear loan that the Municipality wants to take out”. To clarify: “The current administration is saddling future administrations with an interest rate that could rise significantly. And let’s not forget get that Brugnaro’s battle cry in the election campaign was his desire to not take on debt on the heads of the citizens. We also proposed using some of the budget surplus to reduce the additional personal income tax, but the proposal was rejected, return to sender”.
Gasparinetti concludes: “Before getting the city into debt for the next 30 years, we believe we should hear from the citizens. We should also not forget that with this project all the other projects competing for NRP funds are being torched, for a sports complex that with a skillful operation of pure marketing has been turned into a forest, because if it had only been a stadium and a building it would not have passed”.
Source: La Nuova di Venezia e Mestre