Elimination of the Area Authorities

Law no. 42 of 26 March 2010 - “Urgent interventions concerning local authorities and regions” – includes article 186-bis in the 2010 Finance Act (Law no. 191/2009). This sets out that, after one year from the entry into force of this law (i.e. as of 1 January 2011), the Area Authorities for the management of water resources and the urban waste integrated management referred to in articles 148 and 201 of Legislative Decree no. 152/2006, are eliminated. At the same time, Regions can award, by way of law, the functions that were exercised by the Authorities, in compliance with the principles of subsidiarity, diversification and adequacy.

On 26 February 2011, Law 10/2011 was published (which converted Law Decree no. 225 of 29 December 2010, the so–called "mille proroghe"), extending the terms set out in legislation and the urgent interventions concerning tax issues and support to companies and households. Article 1, paragraph 1 establishes the extension to 31 March 2011 of the deadline for disbandment of the Area Authority. Paragraph 2 of the same article sets out the possibility to envisage – by means of one or more decrees of the President of the Council of Ministers, in accordance with the Ministry of Economy and Finance - a further extension of the above-mentioned terms until 31 December 2011. By decree of the President of the Council of Ministers on 25 March 2011, the deadline of 31 March 2011 was extended until 31 December 2011. The subsequent “Decreto Mille proroghe” (Law Decree no. 216 of 29 December 2011), makes provision for the deferment of the expiry of the Area Authorities handling the integrated water service and integrated waste management from 31 December 2011 to 31 December 2012, based on the necessary guarantee of continuity in the provision of local public services and guarantee of an “additional transitory period, for the transfer of functions from the Area Authorities to new operators identified by the Regions, and for the adoption of the relevant proper coordination initiatives”.

 

Note that despite postponement of this deadline by one year from the end of 2011, the Tuscany Regional Government issued laws on this issue, arranging the global reorganisation of the integrated water service, starting with the reassignment of functions and powers now held by the Area Authorities. In fact, Regional Law no. 69 of 28/12/2011 established the Tuscany Water Authority which assumed all functions and responsibilities previously held by the Area Authorities and, as at 1 January 2012, which took on all income and expense generating legal relations of the eliminated authorities (art. 52). The AIT organisation will include a central structure at regional level and 6 branch structures (areas pursuant to art. 13) which faithfully reproduce the area distribution of the 6 Area Authorities. On expiry of the concession agreements existing at the date of entry into force of the regional law, the water service will be assigned to a single operator. In the service assignment documents the Water Authority will indicate the timing and methods for reimbursement to the outgoing operator for any investments not yet amortised.

Art. 50 of the same law states that the bodies of the Authority are to be established by 30 June 2012 and that, with effect from 1 January 2012 and until actual start-up of the Authority bodies, the functions of such bodies will be performed by six commissioners identified as the chairmen of the Boards of Directors of the disbanded Authorities in office at 31 December 2011, each of which operating in reference to their respective area and making use of the technical support of the directors of the disbanded Authorities as at 31 December 2011. The steps toward constitution of the new Regional Authority have commenced: the general meetings for the six areas have been held and the Authority’s bodies were established in July, and the Director was also appointed.