Palma City Council yesterday voted in favour of increasing water and rubbish collection rates as well as another rise in the ORA parking tariffs in the capital. The increases were heavily criticised by council opposition parties who voted against the motion, but votes cast in favour by the majority Partido Popular party were enough to push the motion through the council. City Mayor Joan Fageda defended the rate increases, repeating his claims that hikes in the water rates are being introduced to absorb the increase in the costs of running the desalination plant and purchasing the water produced. The chairman of the water board EMAYA, Maria Crespo, was forced to step in to the tense debate, saying “while no political parties like increasing rates, the hikes are absolutely necessary” in order to be able to guarantee a quality water supply for the general public and to prevent the further over exploitation of the island's wells. The opposition PSOE socialist party however refused to swallow Crespo's excuses, pointing out to the council that last year, EMAYA posted profits of around 1'600 million pesetas. At the moment, EMAYA charges consumers a minimum flat monthly rate of 595 pesetas, which rises depending on consumption, that figure will rise to 654.5 pesetas. PSOE spokesperson Antoni Roig said that EMAYA is a public company and should be out to make profits.

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