Street lights have been turned off in a Sicilian town after local authorities failed to pay a million-euro bill for power supplies, Italian news websites reported on Tuesday.
Local residents of Monreale near Palermo — a popular tourist destination because of its famous Norman cathedral — have been forced to use flashlights in the evenings and some are warning of the risk of a spike in crime.
A local transport company also on Tuesday requested the seizure of property worth 600,000 euros ($786,000) belonging to the Monreale commune to honour another debt.
“The situation is becoming more and more dramatic by the day,” Massimiliano Lo Biondo, a local councillor from the centre-left Democratic Party which is in opposition to the town’s centre-right government, was quoted as saying.
“Residents do not feel safe and shopkeepers are paying the consequences of a reduction in public services,” he said, adding that the town would be forced to implement more cuts after being put on the power firm’s non-payers list.
Many local governments in Italy are beginning to feel the pinch after years of reckless spending and amid a round of austerity budget cuts enforced by Prime Minister Mario Monti in a bid to rein in the public finances.
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
Raw Story is a progressive news site that focuses on stories often ignored in the mainstream media. While giving coverage to the big stories of the day, we also bring our readers' attention to policy, politics, legal and human rights stories that get ignored in an infotainment culture driven solely by pageviews.
Founded in 2004, Raw Story reaches 9 million unique readers per month and serves more than 30 million pageviews.