Cash-strapped municipalities warned of collapse if they did not collect the municipal property tax for this year.
In a letter to Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos, the chairman of the municipalities union asked for an urgent meeting to discuss a government decision to integrate state and municipal taxes and then pay local authorities their share.
“We are in the middle of the year … and a basic part of the revenues is collection of the municipal immovable property tax,” Alexis Galanos said. “Otherwise it will bring about the collapse of the municipalities,”
In the letter, Galanos said it was the unanimous decision of all mayors, “without this being blackmail” to ask the government to rethink its decision.
“It would be very difficult to convince the municipalities not to impose the tax immediately … because a large number literally face a problem of economic survival and have reached their limits.”
Responding, Hasikos said the matter had been discussed repeatedly with the local authorities and it had also been decided for the state grant to be paid to municipalities in July to avoid the risk discussed in Galanos’ letter.
“Consequently, the fears voiced in Mr. Galanos’ letter are unjustified and exaggerated,” the minister said.
Hasikos said the state has already dispensed the state grant to two municipalities, which faced financial woes.
The minister said he would call a meeting before July 1.
“The minister does not wish to clash with the mayors and local authority elected officials,” the reply said.