Municipality of Messina, the reasons for the Yes to the rebalancing plan


By John

«The panel believes that, at the state of the documents, the Municipality of Messina, despite the presence of a still heavy debt situation, cannot be defined as in a state of bankruptcy». This is the extreme but most effective synthesis of the judgment of the Court of Auditors on the rebalancing plan of Palazzo Zanca. A sentence, complete with underlining, reported at the end of the 161 pages that make up the resolution with which, on 31 July, the accounting magistrates put an end to a real soap opera that began eleven years ago and warded off a specter that hovered, from the parties of the Municipality, from well before: that of financial instability.
The provision was filed on Wednesday afternoon and reports, in detail, the reasons that led the Court to “promote” Palazzo Zanca, albeit with a series of distinctions and “buts” that are typical of the sometimes circle-bottom documents of the same Court of Auditors (just browse through the many reports from previous years). What matters is the result, but in that sentence there is, in fact, the synthesis: the Municipality is not in trouble, but it is not in very good shape yet. And in fact Palazzo Zanca will remain under the scrutiny of the Court: “The Section – it is specified – will carry out a rigorous verification of the commitments undertaken and compliance with the provisions contained in this resolution as part of the six-monthly monitoring, aimed at verifying the implementation of the plan of rebalancing and the achievement of the intermediate objectives relating to the individual years of the Plan itself”. As if to say: we promote you, but we keep an eye on you. And if the objectives are not achieved, the instability hypothesis will be brought back to the surface.

Less debt, more deals

The most important merit recognized by the Court to the Municipality – and, it must be said, to the De Luca-Basile administration in particular, data in hand – is the approval, in recent years, of a large number of off-balance sheet debts. «The panel – reads the conclusions – intends methodologically to enhance, on the basis of what has been certified, the correct quantification of the passive mass (albeit on the basis, in part, of discretionary assessments by the Entity), the reduction of the same over the years (albeit in part with new evaluations of the Entity that cannot be questioned here) and the abstract suitability of the measures identified by the Entity in the Paino (albeit with the perplexities that emerged about some of them), to be read in the light of the management trend in the years ranging from the approval of the same by the Municipality to 2021 (last accounting document), the results and balances of which can provide tools to support the evaluation”.