The Mancomunitat of La Ribera Alta celebrates its twentieth anniversary with new services planned and the will increase the role of the institution
The Mancomunitat of La Ribera Alta celebrates this year its twentieth anniversary. On 11 January 1996 the city of Alcudia hosted the constituent meeting that opened the activities of the institution, an association of local entities in the Ribera Alta county which offers common services for the 35 municipalities of the region.
More than 220,000 people benefit from the services provided by the organization, which is the largest association of municipalities in Valencia -as the number of towns represented- and the fourth in terms of population.
In its 20 years of operation, the institution has represented and defended the interests of the Ribera Alta according to the founding principles of “developing those resources and services needed by municipalities” and “to look after the county, meaning and structuring the region as a natural community, historical, integrated and inclusive”.
The mayor of L’Alcudia in 1996, Francesc Signes, was the promoter and first president of the organization (up to 2001), which has had six presidents of different political color (PSPV-PSOE, PP and BLOC): Matilde Ferrà (Benifaió, 2001-2003), Joaquín Martín (Alcudia 2003-2007), Rosa Sebastián (Algemesí, 2007-2011), Cristóbal García (Tous, 2011-2015) and Txema Peláez (Sumacàrcer, September 2015).
Regional structuring and consensus have been guiding principles of the activity of the institution since its inception, which was possible thanks to the capacity for negotiation and agreement of political representatives in the three founding regional assemblies. Those mass meetings, that were held between 1992 and 1996, were attended by over 300 elected officials, what menans the 80% of the mayors and councilors in the region. This capacity for agreement and consensus has prevailed at most of the decisions of the organization, where its Governing Boards have representation from all political groups.
Currently, the Mancomunitat of La Ribera Alta is a fully consolidated administrative body which offers over 25 specific municipal management services (provision of common equipment and materials, document storage, crane, management of sanctions, drinking water supply), environment (waste collection, abandoned animals, technical reports), social services (direct assistance, protection of children at risk, dependency care, drug prevention, customer service) or culture (regional studies, promotion of Valencian language, adult continuing education, road safety education).
These services are offered to all municipalities and covered jointly with reduced prices by the local councils adhered, taking advantage of economies of scale. 20 years ago, he provision of some of these services, such as the selective waste collection, the continuing education for adults, or the social services and child protection, were more expensive, less efficient or simply nonexistent.
To these provision add also the ones provided by the specialized agencies Riberaturisme (tourism promotion) Territorial Pact for the Employment in La Ribera (economic development) and the Energy Agency of La Ribera (energy saving and renewable energy). These departments, today integrated in the so-called Consorci of La Ribera (which also serves the Mancomunitat of La Ribera Baixa) were born in the heat of the programs and European funds regularly channeled by the Mancomunitat in the form of action plans for the county in the fields of employment, education, energy, culture, environment or civil protection.
Since September 2015, the President of the Mancomunitat of La Ribera Alta is Txema Peláez, mayor of the Sumacàrcer.
In this new stage, Peláez aims to optimize and expand the range of services provided for municipalities, incorporating provisions such as waste collection (organic fraction and residual fraction), automated street cleaning, e-government for small municipalities, a portal of transparency at the local level and the possibility of supramunicipal powers to local police, in order to facilitate the solution of common issues.
The president also wants to foster cohesion in the region through Culture. It has been projected to unite cultural initiatives in the county in order to benefit the municipalities through the Consorci of La Ribera, completing with the new department of ‘Culture’ the already existing of ‘Tourism’, ‘Employment’ and ‘Energy’.
Under this new mandate, it is being developped the celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the Mancomunitat of La Ribera Alta. A complete menu of activities which aims to update the knowledge of the institution among citizens and regions throughout 2016. We have prepared events for all tastes and interests, suchs as a special match ball of ‘pilota valenciana’, literary publications, concerts, exhibitions, a photo contest and a TV documentary. The high point will be the first Associaton of Municipalities International Meeting (AMIC 2016), a participation forum which aims to explain, and claim to value and contribution of these supra-municipal entities in the daily care of local citizens.