Now how can a whole council end up with the infamous title of Rogue of the Week on Italy Chronicles? Simple. Repeated councils, both left and right leaning, have made such a mess of running Viareggio that the area has been saddled with a €100 million debt.
Guess who’s going to have lend a had paying back that sum? No, not the politicians who ran up the debt but the residents in the Viareggio area as well as tourists. Locals and tourists are to be forced to lend an hand to reducing the debt to a more manageable level too.
Visitors to the area, which is famous for its spectacular carnival, will be hit with a tourist tax.
The residents, on the other hand, will be hit by increases in nursery, school dinner, and school bus fees. The cost of using the school bus service will rise from €25 a month to €75 – a 200% increase, as noted by Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano. Local services such as a publicly funded theatre and a swimming pool have been placed at risk as a result of the debt.
Understandably, local residents are not overly happy with being forced to pay for the mistakes of their elected representatives and have been protesting. “The debt is not ours”, was the slogan of the disgruntled locals’ campaign.
The tourist tax may deter visits to the area and in the midst of Italy’s economic crisis, that was not a wonderful move, as you may agree.
Viareggio’s debt problem was uncovered by an inspector from Italy’s economy and finance ministry. What a pity the checks weren’t carried out several tens of millions of Euros ago.
For running up such an enormous debt and saddling residents and visitors with the responsibility of paying it back, repeated Viareggio councils earn themselves the title of Rogues of the Week.