Tired? For nothing Neither Pere Moradell nor Josep Vilà, mayors of Torroella de Fluvià (Alt Empordà) and Fogars de la Selva (Selva) respectively since the first democratic elections, held in 1979, have not felt tired nor have they thought of leaving office at any time to throughout these four long decades governing their municipalities.
From the Olivetti typewriter that a young 26-year-old Pere Moradell remembers the first time he entered his office, to mobile phones, computers and social networks that he does not master but which he defends himself against. From Josep Tarradellas to Pere Aragonès, Catalonia has had eight presidents during this time.
But in both towns, in the last eleven municipal elections, the residents have placed their trust in them time and time again. Always by majority and on 28-M they aspire to once again become the most voted.
Moradell (70 years old) does so under the initials of the PSC and Vilà (71 years old) has been the head of the list of Independents Fogars (IF) since 1979, a group of voters that does not depend on any major party. And that, sometimes, has drawbacks. "Political parties tend to help each other and favor municipalities of the same color," he says.
In those forty-four years they have lived through the changes of their respective towns, very focused then on agriculture. In fact, both candidates have dedicated themselves to the field. During that time, Torroella de Fluvià has practically tripled its population and currently has about 780 residents and in Fogars, they have gone from about 280 residents -distributed mainly in farmhouses- to the current 1,700 with the growth of urbanizations.
Now the services sector is the one with the most economic weight. In Torroella de Fluvià, agriculture represents barely 10% of the activity and in Fogars the countryside has also given way to services and industry.
"The municipality has changed a lot; before there were no streets, no drinking water, no drains, no electricity, nothing; everything has been done and some works twice like the square," says Moradell, who places the construction of a containment dam in 1980 to protect the municipality from floods as the work of which he feels "most proud".
For his part, Josep Vilà takes heart from the fact that Fogars de la Selva, which in 1979 had just 270 inhabitants, has not ended up annexed to any other large municipality. "Being such a small town, there was that risk; but if you are on top of it and you take care of it, you lengthen the possibility of depending on others; in addition, the arrival of new neighbors has increased the population and the town has been consolidating", explains Vilà, who indicates that "I have never tired of being mayor because it is your town and you love it and want to do things for your people."
Both expose other less tangible changes, but that they suffer in their day to day in the City Hall. "What has changed the most is the administration; it is becoming more tiresome and cumbersome; the paperwork takes a long time and wanting to control everything from Barcelona often does not work," explains Moradell.
In a similar line it is pronounced Vilà. "Before, if we had to help a family, we participated directly; now everything is conveyed via regional councils or other estates and administrations; for some things it is fine but for others it is a colder treatment", he remarks.
After 44 years as mayors, both believe that they still have things to offer. "There's still a lot to improve; the more you fix, the more you need," says Moradell. The expansion of the Town Hall and the road that leads to the neighborhood of Sant Tomàs are some of the planned actions.
Vilà says that he has to fix some damage caused by the Gloria storm that hit half of Catalonia in February 2020. He explains that in Fogars it affected areas such as the church of Sant Cebrià and nearby houses. "If you don't do short-term protection, they run the risk of disappearing," he explains. "The ACA promised us protections around Tordera but they have not been carried out," he adds.
They emphasize that there is no secret so that in eleven terms, the neighbors have placed their trust in them. "The group of Independents per Fogars started from the need to be servants of the municipality; we mayors and councilors of small towns are very similar in the way we work; we know the people and we do our best to make them feel comfortable", explains Vilà .
More emphatic is Moradell. "There is no secret; simply a constant dedication 24 hours a day," says the socialist candidate who never turns off the phone. Has he ever -he says- he has answered calls at three in the morning because there was no water in a house. "You are mayor 24 hours a day," he underlines.
Regarding the possibility of a new term if they win these elections again, at their age they do not make plans or believe in the stories of the milkmaid. "Every day the sun rises is another day, but you never know if you'll see it again," says Vilà. "It will be seen," adds Moradell.