Paris: State auditors have told a French village near the Spanish border that it is "too rich" to continue taxing residents and should cancel council and property taxes this year.
Le Perthus, a community of 586 people, takes more than £700,000 ($1.1 million) a year from parking fees alone. People from the surrounding region park in the village while they cross the border on foot to shop in Spain, where food, clothes and household goods are cheaper.
French village of Le Perthus, near the Spanish border.
André Pezziardi, head of the Occitanie Audit Office, said: "We concluded that local taxation should be reduced to zero for council and property taxes."
Last year the council spent less than £5000 of £240000 earmarked for public facilities because the mayor and councillors could not agree how to spend the money.
Marie-Hélène Ruart-Lucquin, the centrist mayor, said councillors voted against a playground, a medical centre, a library and other projects. "For the past two years I've had opposition councillors who vote against projects and so we can't invest in the community," she said.
The local prefect is to decide whether to enforce the state auditor's recommendation.
"There's no need for us to keep paying," said Michel, a local businessman. "The council aren't doing anything with all that money. But I won't raise my glass until I see my tax form with zeroes in the bottom line."
Others are concerned that squabbling on the council is paralysing the community.
"The entire council is against the mayor," said Marie. "She hasn't got a majority so everything is blocked by the councillors. They're messing up the whole village.
"Last year the teacher struggled to pay for the school trip. It's wrong."
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