The municipal council of the village of Pyla is said to be on verge of financial collapse, unable to raise sufficient funds to cover the cost of public utilities, for which the Turkish Cypriot residents are not charged.
Under a long-standing government policy, the Turkish Cypriot inhabitants in the mixed village of Pyla, located in the buffer zone, are not charged for electricity, water supply or garbage collection.
This means taxes for covering the costs are levied exclusively on the Greek Cypriot residents, causing some consternation among them, daily Politis reports.
The matter has come to a head as due to cutbacks owing to the financial crisis, the government has in recent years reduced the annual grant provided to the municipal council to help with its operational costs.
Water supply aside, the council’s overall operational costs amount to some €200,000 a year; however, the government grant comes to only €100,000.
Revenues from taxes levied on the Greek Cypriot residents are not sufficient to plug the €100,000 hole.
The council is said to have been accumulating deficits over the years, and is indebted to the banks, meaning among other things it has no funds to carry out infrastructure works.
The matter was recently brought to the attention of main opposition AKEL by the community leader of Pyla.
In a memo delivered to AKEL, the community leader moreover reported that a number of Greek Cypriot inhabitants are exploiting the situation in Pyla.
Savvy Greek Cypriots have been renting out Turkish Cypriot properties and running their businesses from there, aware that these premises are not charged for electricity or water.
Operating these premises with almost no overhead gives these people an unfair commercial advantage over others who do pay their bills, the community leader said.
He has called on the government to come to the council’s aid, given that it was the state which decided in the first place to provide free utilities to the Turkish Cypriot residents.