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Friday, December 16, 2011

Error & Bits

Firstly I have been made aware of the fact that I incorrectly reported a certain aspect of he last Pleno (thats what happens when I try to do things without checking with Andreas that my interpretation is correct). I had alluded to the fact that the motion for the reduction in the fees charged to the market stall holders had been proposed by PSOE. That was giving them more credit than should have been as it was nothing to do with them. Not only that but they have copied and pasted that part of the blog onto their Facebook page. Nice to know they are checking my posts!
In fact the idea was a PA one and PSOE in fact even voted against it in the pre pleno commission meeting. So not only did they not propose the idea, but they claimed credit and not only that but they actively voted against the motion. Why? I do not know as it would seem to me the least we could do in these straightened times. They also made no mention of walking out of the Pleno.

We also discussed this morning the idea that one business man has proposed where we allow him to take over the Renfe building and in return for his maintaining and cleaning etc he would be opening a small drinks and nibbles type premise within it.

We also discussed a joint method of managing press releases to ensure comprehensive and accurate reports were made.

I again asked when we could get the election signs down and he said it was on Pacos to do list it was just a question of getting the time.

As a result of a request from a resident of Palaces I asked Candido if there was anything we could do to  prevent cars parking in the hammer head of a cul de sac. He said that it was the Town Halls responsibility and that we would look at whether it was a location suitable for a no parking sign and yellow lines.

I also asked Candido if in the early part of the New Year we can look at getting the street maps. You may recall I suggested this some time ago and it was received as a good idea but nothing has yet been done with it. What I would like us to do is to have plans of each developed area with a key to the locations of each street on an alphabetical list. Candido agreed to take this forward early next year.

Below is a list of events for Xmas. The fuller list is on the Town Hall wall.
21st December Xmas Fiesta in the schools of Zurgena 10.30 and noon.
23rd december Masterclass of Funky in the Sports Hall of Zurgena at 2000.
25th December Service in the church San Ramon Nonato 1900
27th December Childrens event in Guadalinfo 1600
28th December Childrens event in the old Town Hall 1600.
5th January 3 Kings Celebration arrival in Zurgena
Distribution of gifts La Alfoquia 1800
ditto Zurgena 1800.
7th January Xmas carol service in the church of San Ramon Nonato 1930.

Probably last post of this year. My best wishes to you all for Xmas and the New Year.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

HLM Articles

Last week I had been reading the article entitled Council Corner in the HLM newspaper. In that article there were a number of pieces regarding previous years, and the current years, budgets. The facts as related in that article were incorrect and have led to an in depth discussion between Candido and Kiko. At first I thought that there was going to be serious falling out (which would be a very bad thing given the fragility of a coalition and the likely outcome of such a falling out.) However following these discussions things have settled down.

The article in the paper at the moment is not a joined up article, in that the councillors responsible for certain tasks, have not been made aware of the article or the suggested situation. I will discuss it with Candido and Kiko and see if there is a way that before anything goes to the Press it is agreed by all the councillors, particularly those with a responsibility for whatever is being discussed. It is crucial that we are seen to be acting together on all issues

Monday, December 12, 2011

Pleno Drama

We held a Plenary session of the council today at Zurgena. Due to start at 12noon but as usual late starting at 12.30pm. It was attended by all 4 PSOE councillors, Ana as acting Mayoress, Sampo as deputy with all 4 PA councillors. As usual the meeting was opened by the Mayoress and the first point of order being the approval of the minutes of the previous meeting. This at first drew an objection from PSOE regarding one point which Ana accepted and agreed to amend. Then Luis (PSOE) raised an issue regarding councillors rights to be respected and heard during Plenary meetings. It seemed to me that this had been explained by Ana (as the effective chair) of the meeting as to how many people from a political party could raise points etc during a Pleno.

We then moved onto Point 1 of the agenda, which was the approval of the Presupuesto General de Zurgena for 2011. Once this point was opened PSOE raised an objection through Maria Jose which related to Candido. He replied and as far as I could make out Ana was then asking Sampo to respond on behalf of PP however, Luis seemed to take exception to not being allowed to speak at that particular junction and, following a grandstanding display, he and the other PSOE councillors walked out at 12.43pm only 12 minutes into the meeting!

This left us to continue the Pleno without any PSOE councillors, which was as we are obliged to do. We then discussed a number of other points one of interest was the contract to take over the lands and buildings owned by ADIF (the railway authority). This is necessary for all councils in the valley to comply with the agreed Green Route  besides other financial concerns. This was obviously agreed. It was also interesting to note that the PSOE party had a motion tabled regarding reducing the fees chargeable by the Town Hall for market stall holders, but as they were no longer in the meeting Candido proposed it and we agreed it!

For information Andreas will be back to work this Friday but I guess he will be busy. I have already booked him so that I can clarify some matters so I suggest that if you business in the Town Hall that you prefer to resolve through Andreas you leave it until next week.

The meeting ended at 1.05pm.A bit earlier than of late!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Kids Day

Was asked if I would assist today at a kids event in the Town Hall and agreed.

It was quite interesting as the local primary school, sent along 50 kids with their teachers for a lesson on local government. The kids were addressed by Kiko, Candido and Ana who explained the workings of the Town Hall and the structure of government in Spain. The Polizia Local also were present and did a presentation on their roles. After questions from the kids, some quite difficult ones, they elected their own council and pretended to hold a plenary session with discussion and votes. They seemed to enjoy it. Or maybe it was because they all got a big bag of sweets after.

We apparently as a Town Hall have to entertain a meeting of all the Mayors and Deputy Mayors from all the Town Halls of the Mancomunidad of Almanzora on Friday. Hope I can make it but may be busy with the Post boxes if Matt and I cannot get the locks changed tomorrow which now seems unlikely.

I did pass the latest list of non functioning street lights to Candido.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Governing Councillors Meeting

Ana, who is standing in for Kiko whilst he is off injured, called a meeting today for the councillors of the coalition for 1.0pm today. I was already going to be in the office today due to a new list of random checks from the Padron list needing to be done. ( see below).

Our meeting started at 1.15pm and Ana had quite a list of issues for us to discuss. I was obviously hampered by not having Andreas with me, due to him being on paternity leave. It therefore made it very hard work for me to keep up in understanding what was being said. I managed for most of the meeting but towards the end when tempers and arguments became more heated and the speed of conversation increased I lost it. So I will have to catch up later. In the main we were in agreement with what to discuss and progress at the next Pleno but there was obvious disagreements about some of our projects towards the end, although I believe the mini golf (amongst other things) is going ahead. I left at just before 3.0pm.

Regarding the Padron list (this is a random list generated by the Junta every 6-12 months which each Town Hall is sent for verification that those named should still be on the Padron, for funding purposes) I have managed to contact most of the people on the list however, those named (surname first) below I was unable to contact, or I am unsure whether they will get my message. If you know of any of the people please ask them (if they still have a property here) to pop into the Town Hall with their NIE or passport to confirm that they should still be on the padron, when next they are passing.
Aldridge Pamela Mary,Arnold David John, Baber Karen Ann, Barr Natalie Helen, Bunting Adele, Calway Ann, Coxon Lee John, Chick Noel, Dodsworth Stephen John & Julie, Gillam Peter Anthony, Goulder Micheal Richard, Hartley Christopher John & Sarah, Hembery Anthony Michael& Jennifer, Hodgkiss Melvin George & Yvonne, Holmes Richard Anthony, Jeffcott Dorothy, Kerswell Peter John &Valerie, McCarthy Susan, McGrory Daniel, MacPherson Jamie Richard, Miller Beryl Anne & David, Morgan Deborah Jane & Keith, Neal Margaret Ellen & Robert, Payne Anthony Ronald & Sharon, Reld Peter Derrick, Senior Jack,&Cynthia, Scott Dawn Patricia & Paul, Thomas Donald Sean & Rachel, Trimby Joan & John. Apologies if these people have already been contacted (as I discovered whilst going through my list that 20% I had already contacted!)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Andreas' Baby Next Pleno

Some good news Andreas' wife is back home from hospital with their new baby 'Lucy' born last Friday and weighing in at 3.2kgs. Both mother and baby well.

Spent a bit of time this morning with Ana and Candido covering issues to put on the agenda for the next Pleno. Items to be dealt with include the Budget for 2011 and the approval of the accounts for 2009. Also an agreement to cover Candido's role.

We also agreed to hold regular meetings of all councillors each Friday at 5.0pm. There is to be an event which will be published on Facebook at the Theatre in Zurgena on 4th December at 6.0pm and an beneficial dance in the Renfe on the 16th December time not yet decided. Will post more when known.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Just to let you know that the contracts which we are currently awaiting sign off for which include the tarmac surfacing of Avenida Poetas and the tarmac surfacing of the road between Los Llanos and Almajalejo only require signing by the mayor and forwarding to the Diputacion. Unfortunately due tot he mess that PSOE made of the accounts there is no money left in this years budget for these to be done before next year but they should be the first to receive authorisation in the new year.

There has been a hiccup with the Wifi in the past couple of days. They are working on the problem.

The contractors who have been doing the infrastructure for the bowling green were due to meet the Candido regarding the sign of for the completion of this stage today. As they have not done some other things we specified within the contract. Once that is completed the Town Hall will consider when and how to approve the next stage of the work.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

New Post Boxes

Just to keep you up to date (in case I have missed you off the email lists) the next 3 banks of post boxes for Los Menchones, Los Llanos del Peral and the extended one for Cuesta de los Pinos, are due to be delivered today. I will endeavour to have them all installed tomorrow or at the latest over the weekend. I will be outside La Vida to issue the keys for the Cuesta de los Pinos and Los Llanos ones from 11.0am until 1.0 or 2.0pm on Saturday 19th. Los Menchones will be sorted by Phil over there.

When I issue the keys I will give you a slip with the address for the box (it is just like having a postal box and they have been working well for the existing owners) and a note of what to put on a sticker inside your box to assist the post staff.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Council Communications

Our new Mayor has decided to run a regular column in the local press regarding TH activities and I think this is a great idea which should help us all. I have not yet and, due to his accident, may not for some time be able to discuss with him the best way to ensure that we don't duplicate or worse give differing versions of activities etc within the Town Hall. We are also working on making the Town Hall website much more informative.

In order that we don't stand on each others toes I will continue to act as your councillor and raise issues that are of importance with the appropriate councillor/s. I will also feed back, through this site, information which I feel is worthwhile communicating. This will be in addition to any information which Kiko wishes to communicate.

To that end (and only because someone outside of the council took the time to tell me, thats another issue) I can let you know that there is a meeting organised for Friday evening 18th November at the Town Hall at 4.0pm entitled  Learn your rights as a utilities consumer. To learn more about various issues relating to water, electricity & gas services. I understand that this has been organised by Sampo and John Hare. I do not have any more information on this but if you have any queries regarding this let me know and I will pass on to Sampo or John.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Mayor Update

Attended the Remembrance day service at the church in Zurgena yesterday. Felt sorry for Mick Gardiner and his team as the priest could not attend, due to an emergency, but they managed very well. There was a good turnout and I attended with Candido (representing PA) and Sampo (representing PP). Received an update on Kiko's state of treatment. He has had to have 3 titanium plates inserted in his arm and shoulders, which shows the severity of the injuries he sustained.

I have been contacting a number of people whose names were sent by the Junta to confirm they are still owners of or residents of property entitled to be on the padron. A few who I was unable to speak to directly I left messages on their phones. So if you get a garbled message from me it was probably just asking you to call into the Town Hall with passprot or NIE to confirm that you should still be on the padron. One name I was unable to contact was Leonard Mason of Calle Narciso. If you know Mr Mason please ask him to pop into the TH.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Mayors Accident

I am indebted to Linda and Dave Lewis for the following information. I have confirmed the following with the Town Hall
Apparently late yesterday morning our Mayor, Kiko, together with another worker, were using a cherry picker to deal with signage and as they were working at some height, the cherry picker basket itself became detached from the crane and fell to the ground. both Kiko and Anthonio (a PP member) were seriously injured and an air ambulance attended the scene. It was there for 45 minutes before lifting them to Almeria Hospital where they are both said to be comfortable. Kiko has numerous cuts to his head it is suspected that he has broken both his arms. They have had to operate on his elbow. Anthonio has a badly broken ankle.
Will keep you posted on how he is doing.

Dirty Dog (owners)

I and the Town Hall are receiving an increasing number of complaints regarding people walking their dogs and allowing them to defecate in areas close to private houses. There is in existence in Spain a bye law which means that anyone found allowing their dog to do so attracts a fine of between €50 and €150.
It is not that we do not have enough problems with feral dogs but, for individuals to fail to pick up their dogs mess, is exceedingly thoughtless and of course also give rise to potential health issues.

Please, if you walk your dogs in or near any houses,  pick up any mess your dog makes and dispose of it in the basuras. It is not asking much and enhances our areas of residence.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Lights and bits

Candido is (as councillor for Public Works) working his way through the list of street lights not working and a few areas have already been completed. In some cases it is down to the installing company and others the T.H. but there are still some areas not yet formally adopted which are in the responsibility of the original builder.
Whilst I was in the Town Hall doing some work on Thursday I discovered that the fist of the acceptance letters (for IBI) from the Diputacion have been received by some residents. This is earlier than we had thought but it is good to know that they are now processing the files.
I am now aware that Partido Populare have appointed two coordinators to act as liaison between the expat community and our new Mayor and there party. They are John Hare 697255644 and Nicola Blade 666023776. I assume that their role will be to facilitate issues between the expat community and PP and our new Mayor.
I will continue to report as a council member and assist in the same way as the past 4 years but you may feel that certain issues are better directed to the PP coordinators. To assist you in deciding who best to contact it may help if I list the roles performed by PA in the coalition, we hold the offices responsible for Public Works (Candido) Social and Sports etc (Noelia) 3rd Age (myself) and Salvadore (having completed the work on compiling the IBI files) is now responsible for one of the most important roles. He has to sign off payments with the Mayor.
All other issues eg Galasa, Planning etc are the responsibility of PP councillors.
As usual any queries just let me know.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cuesta de los Pinos Court Case

Anthonio of New Horizons was keen for me to call into his office today to collect a copy of the court ruling from the Appeal Court in Granada.

The court ruling is one I have referred to before but, I think Anthonio wanted me to publicise the fact that the case, regarding the 63 building licences granted by the Town Hall of Zurgena on 16.02.07, 28.10.04, 3.02.05, 10.2.05, 30.4.05, 7.10.05 and 18.2.06 were won by the Town Hall for various reasons. Additionally the costs of the appeal were awarded against the Junta de Andalucia. I have a copy of the court ruling if anyone wishes to view it. No appeal is known to have been lodged against this ruling and as it was in June time has expired for such an action.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Bits 28th October

Had a meeting with Candido this morning for about an hour to go over some things. It was fine at first as I had Andreas interpreting, however, as he had a lot of work to do prior to him starting a months holiday, Sampo took over.

I first asked about the pavement being built at Cuesta de los Pinos. Candido confirmed that the paving would extend from Calle Francia for 500 metres north along the east side of Avenida Europa. It will not, in the near future extend to the south.

I asked if they could take down all the Political Election signs as they are becoming an eyesore for many. They agreed to do that in the next few weeks.

I did praise him for the work done on the entrance to Zurgena as it looked greatly improved with the work already done and many people had conveyed their appreciation of this work.

I again raised the issue of the deterioration  of the road through Cucador by the big illegal house. He said that he would need to speak with Kiko as he, as Mayor, would need to send a letter to them telling them to put it right otherwise the Town Hall would have to do it and bill them the cost.

I raised the issue of the potholes in Avenida Palaces where it as temporarily repaired prior to their fiesta last year. He informed me that a project for the resurfacing of this road has been approved but due to budget constraints he could not say that it would be completed before the end of the year more likely early next year.

I provided Candido (again) with a list of the streets which do not have street signs on

Cuesta de los Pinos, 
Calle Moldavia, Calle Hungria,Calle Austria, Calle Latvia, Calle Grecia, Calle Bulgaria, Calle Letonia, Calle Islandia,
Los Llanos  
Avenida Poetas, Calle Nicolas Salmeron, Calle Pedro Salinas, Calle Juan Ramon Jimenez 
Los Carasoles
Calle Nalon, Calle Segura, Calle Odiel
La Alfoquia 
Avenida de Aracena y Picos de Aroche,
Calle Montinegro, 
Los Cabreras
Avenida Los Cabreras, 

If you know of any other streets without signs please let me know so that I can add them to the list. I suspect that we will need to reorder the signs for those streets.

There was no further news on any court cases.

I asked for clarification of the IBI situation for people without Licences of 1st Occupation and I was told that where the Town Hall could justify that a property had been built, stood and occupied for more than 4 years they would be asked to pay the 4 years. This would include people with Certificates of Antiquity. Sorry if I misled people it was not intentional it was my misunderstanding of the situation. 

As you may have noticed in the first paragraph Andreas is not going to be about much for the next month or two. He is starting a period of 4 weeks holidays and then shortly after he returns his wife is due to give birth and he will have another 15 days holidays paternity leave.

As usual any queries or issues please just drop me an email.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pleno 25th Oct, & Earthquake

Called into the Town Hall this morning and discovered that there was a Pleno at midday. Apparently the Polizia Local thought I was still in the UK and so I was unaware.

It was a pretty boring Pleno. The main purpose being to approve a pig farm near Almajalejo which was unanimously approved. Unfortunately the PSOE party spent the first 45 minutes complaining that they felt that Isa (stand in Town Hall Secretary) was not accurately recording minutes of the meetings. A point which I felt was unfair as Isa has shown to be very unbiased in all her dealings over the year.  Also this is a point which can be argued after any type of meeting. The meetings are recorded and these are available and we have even reached the digital age with a new digital recorder rep;lacing our old cassette tape recorder! The other points in the meeting were quite dry. Due to the meeting taking 2 hours I have arranged to see Candido later in the week to discuss the other outstanding issues.

On my way into town I was pleased to see the extent to which the Town Hall has improved the approach to Zurgena from La Alfoquia. They have cleared the area of all the rubbish from the VP housing at the top of the hill, inset the name of the town and made it all much more tidy. When you think that this was one of the points that came highest up the list on our survey in January of this year you can see that we have had an effect.

The Town Hall has also commenced work on paving one side of Avenida Europa/ As I understand it when completed it should reach from the lowest entry to Cuesta de los Pinos up to Calle Finlandia on the one side of the road and will have planting.

Earthquake. Those of you who woke up at about 1.30am, probably, are aware that we had a sizeable earthquake. According to the Spanish website which covers such events it was variously reported as being between 3.7 and 4.1 on the richter scale with the epicentre 2 kms nNE of Zurgena. It fairly shook the doors of my house!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Back in Harness

I had to return to the UK top assist a family member and that is the reason for no posts these past 2 week.

I will get into the Town Hall later this week and see what is happening.

I should aso get the new post boxes for the areas wanting them later this week but will email directly to those concerned when that is done.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Copy from Euro Weekly

I am indebted to Geoff Williams for forwarding thois info for me to post on here which comes from a Euro Weekly article. 

THE British Consulate is holding a series of open events in Almeria Province, to offer advice on some of the issues that matter most to British people living in Spain.
As well as learning more about the services offered by the Consulate, British residents will have the opportunity to find out about their pension and benefit rights and responsibilities. Health matters will also be on the agenda with the team providing information on issues such as how to register for healthcare in Spain and where to apply for the European Health Insurance Card.
British Consul Steve Jones said: “We’re really keen to help British residents integrate into Spanish life, and get the most out of living in Spain.  This is a great chance to hear from the experts about your rights, and also your obligations, when living here.  By holding three events in different parts of the province, we hope to reach as many people as possible.”
Those interested in attending can pre-book one-to-one appointments with the Pension, Benefit and Healthcare Team. These will follow the main presentation.  It should be noted that the staff attending are representatives for Consular services, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department of Health, and therefore property matters will not be discussed.
The events will take place on Wednesday 26 and Thursday 27 October as follows:
Arboleas – Wednesday October 26, 5pm (doors 4:30pm). Mueso Pedro Gilabert, Plaza Pedro Gilabert, Arboleas
Vera – Thursday  October 27, 9:30am (doors 9am). Aula de Cultura, Sala de Exposiciones, Plaza Mayor, Vera
Roquetas de Mar – Thursday  October 27, 3pm (doors 2:30pm). Library - Biblioteca Municipal, Salon de Actos, Plaza Luis Martin, 04740 Roquetas de Mar
To book a place online, please visit  
If you experience any problems booking or do not have Internet access, call 902 109 356 and choose options 13 and then 8. Please note places are limited and can only be guaranteed if reserved in advance.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Columbus Day

Following my invitation to the celebrations for todays holiday (Columbus Day) I found I had enough time to attend the Mass in the morning at the San Ramon Nonato Iglesia in Zurgena andy the party afterwards at the Guardia Civil Cuartel.

The morning service was as usual conducted by the local priest who, if everyone spoke Spanish like he does, we would find it easier to learn the language. The service lasted about an hour and was very informal. Both children and dogs were walking in and out of the church.

Then at 2.0pm the celebrations in honour of the village patron Virgen del Pilar took place at the Guardia Civil barracks. Wish I had cleared my diary for the day. Initially offered was wine and beer then the most fantastic paella I have ever tasted arrived (made as I found out at the Ballabona restaurant) and having served everyone with a portion, soft drinks were served, but only momentarily, as it was quickly followed with spirits. rum, whisky, gin, everything. As I already had plans for the rest of the day I did not partake but think I will keep my diary entry for next year clear!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Update 11/10 at last

Got a call from the Town Hall this morning to the effect that Candido could see me this morning! I agreed to be in for 11.30 and at last we sat down and got through some issues. The 1st problem was that I was wanted to attend a meeting of the 3rd Age on Friday (which I probably am going to unable to make). Why don't they give me more notice?

At first we discussed a number of points regarding some residents of Cucador on unsegregated land which he gave me some advice on.

I reported to him the lights that have been reported to me as not working. He was exceedingly annoyed at the ones on Cuesta de los Pinos not working as he had already had a discussion about these. He was going to visit himself tonight to see all those not working and get the company back. Regarding the Los Carasoles ones this is more complicated and I will email those who reported them.

I asked on behalf of a couple of the residents who had asked to see the Plans for Zurgena. He confirmed that that should be no problem but that those wishing to do so should ask for an appointment with Ana who is now the Councillor for Building etc. He could see no reason for her not to allow such requests.

I had had a few complaints regarding people leaving leaflets etc on top of the post boxes around the area. I was informed that this is the result of people being paid to deliver leaflets house to house who cannot be bothered. He even told me that at the time of the bullfight in Zurgena the Town Hall had fallen foul of this and been denounced. No one is allowed to deposit large quantities of leaflets in such a scenario and if anyone does so again then we can either inform the company or report it with a copy of the leaflet to the Guardia Civil.

I asked about vermin control and the amount of dog mess littering various areas which I had received a number of complaints about. Unfortunately due to the reshuffle this is not an area that our councillors has any responsibility for now and it is a matter for the new Mayor. I asked how we can have some impact on the Mayors decisions on what to do about this and he said that if people lodged complaints on the standard form available at the Town Hall this would help. I will get Andreas to do a specimen one and run off some copies for people to sign which could lead to some action being taken.

Regarding the Bowling Green we need now to give the Town Hall an update of the figures for the remainder of the work necessary and then he can fight to get the appropriate budget for that. I will contact the people for that.

I had a query about the Bar La Campsa and when it could be rented. It transpires that no decision has been made about this bar as it was meant to be solely for use by the 3rd Age in La Alfoquia and it is up to them what happens with it.

I asked about a recent entry in the press regarding the Mayor of Huercal Overa stating that they were going to be putting a green route through Los Carasoles. He said this is right and wrong. Firstly Huercal Overa's area of authority stops at a point to the east of Los Carasoles however, there is a Plan from the Comunidad de Almanzora involving all the councils in the valley to utilise this old railway line to provide a green/cycle route. Work has started on the furthest west of these, at Seron, and the work should reach our area by 2013 or 2014.

I also asked about whether we, as a council, are issuing building licences and I was told that the short answer is no however, each application would be treated on its merits and whether they could grant them without any problems. I suspect that that means small building licences may be acceptable but not construction licences.

Other matters which were discussed and cannot be published will be communicated by email to those involved.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Marie Celeste & Holiday

Called into the Town Hall again this morning. It was like the Marie Celeste, only Isa and Juanjo there.
Left letters detailing the outstanding issues for Sampo, Candido and Andreas. Will try again tomorrow.

Just to remind people that Wednesday is a Bank Holiday. I received my invitation from the Guardia Civil to attend the service at the church (which is at 11.0am) followed by wine at the G.C. station on that date but unfortunately I have a prior commitment.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Post Office, Boxes and Promar Houses (Water)

Firstly the Post Office is moving AGAIN! I spent some time with Jose today from the Correos and he told me that they were moving the Post Office again. I asked why it happens so often and basically he explained that historically the Post Office in small villages was a room in the Postmans home. As the post person for Zurgena is not resident in the village (she is from Taberno) therefore it is necessary for the post person to rent a room for this purpose. After negotiations with the Town Hall (due to the rent on the existing place going up) they are moving to the old Town Hall up the hill near the doctors surgery in the village.

The manufacture of the post boxes for Los Llanos, Los Menchones and the additional box for Cuesta de los Pinos is progressing and should be completed the week after next. We have agreed locations for the casetas which hopefully will satisfy people. I will be communicating exact address details once the casetas are ready.

I also attended a meeting, which Sampo (councillor for Galasa) had organised, to explain the situation regarding the Promar houses in Los Llanos. I expressed my gratitude to Sampo for taking this task on and hoped he could get a resolution to the problem.
He is basically at the early stage of organising an application to Galasa on behalf of all those who do not have mains water supply. He was suggesting applying for Certificates of Antiquity and then submitting a composite application to Galasa (together with much copies of documentation eg NIE Contracts etc) on behalf of all those wishing to go down this road.
Personally I think Sampos action is the most likely way to obtain mains water in the near future. I asked him if he wished me to collate details of anyone not here and able to register their desire to support this action and he said he would talk to me about it next week. However, in order that no one is missed out, if this affects you please let me know and I will forward your details to Sampo.

Still not seen or heard from Candido.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


I know many of you will identify with what I am about to relate but I am at that, "getting very fed up stage again" and I need to vent my thoughts before I explode.
I have spent the past few weeks waiting and hoping to sit down with various members of the council primarily, Candido, but have failed dismally. I do spend many days waiting, more in hope than expectation, of being able to get things answered but today topped many of them.
I had (I thought) arranged to see Candido either yesterday or today (after a few weeks of failed efforts) and sent him a text to confirm (no reply).
I also had an appointment with Jose Aran from the Correos regarding the 3 new casetas we are organising and I also emailed and texted him to confirm that appointment for 2.0pm.
Guess what! I went into Zurgena Town Hall at 11.0am no sign of Candido - no answer to phone.
Went home waiting for my 2.0pm appointment with Jose. No show and no reason sent or given.
So I have left a snotty letter for Candido and a similar email to Jose. Don't suppose it will make any difference but at least I feel better!
Somehow the Spanish 'manana' continues to frustrate the hell out of me and I wonder if it is worth it.
I will try again later this week to sort some of the issues (where I can find someone of responsibility  to deal with) but I am at Torrevieja tomorrow for an NHW meeting so it will be Thursday or Friday.

Seems Jose has an excuse his Facebook page shows it is his birthday today!

Forgot to add that although Sampo (councillor responsible for Galasa) was also not in the office I left him a file with the names and addresses of all those who contacted me regarding the ongoing discussions with Galasa re properties not connected to the mains yet.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Pleno 30.9

Wow what a record Pleno. Although there appeared to be little of contention on the agenda for todays Pleno it turned out to be the longest I have ever attended. It started at midday and went on until just after 3.0pm! The main reason for the lengthy nature of the meeting was the number of points raised by the PSOE opposition and the number of questions they tabled at the end of the meeting. I will do a fuller resume of the Pleno when I have time to put it together however it did mean that my question time for Kiko and Candido had to be postponed until early next week.

A couple of things I managed to progress prior to the Pleno included the negotiations between the Town Hall and Galasa for the provision of mains water to those houses (Promar Builders) not currently connected to the mains in the Los Llanos area. Sampo, who is now the councillor for liaison with Galasa, informed me that he had been in discussions with Galasa and these were progressing. He hoped to have further news next week. I mentioned to him a few other properties, that do not have mains water, and he asked me to provide details of the occupant and any documentary information and he would try and take those cases up as well. The cases I know of I will contact but, if I have not contacted you, and you are in this postion please let me know so that I can give him a comprehensive list.

Another thing I found out about is the small court for dealing with minor disagreements whih is known as the Court of Peace and is held in Zurgena, organised by the Town Hall and chaired by Judge Jaime. This court will hear disagreements and the judge will rule on these matters as a court of 1st instance before anyone needs to take it to the full courts and start incurring costs.  All that is required is that the people involved contact the Town Hall with details of the dispute etc and the people involved and then the case will be listed.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I have collected my car after the rat damage was repaired. It may be worthy of mentioning on here, as I am the 3rd person to suffer from this in the past few years. I and at least two of my neighbours have suffered from damage to our vehicles as a result of rodents chewing through cabling or piping. I understand from my mechanic that it is quite common. His advice is always to leave some poison near your car and this will help prevent such an expensive bit of damage. My car is always garaged and not even in the open but the rat got in.

I will be calling into the Zurgena Town Hall tomorrow and again on Friday as we have a Pleno meeting then. I hope to resolve some of the many outstanding issues, during the next couple of days as I should be able to see the main people.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


My apologies again. I am still waiting for my car being repaired. The problem is that I have to wait for Candido and Kiko to be in the Town Hall. When I am notified, that they are there, I tell them to wait and drive in. They have not been in the office a lot lately usually attending meetings elsewhere.

I promise I will do my best to see them this coming week and apologise again for the delay especially those  awaiting a response regarding the water situation and Galasa.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Car Trouble

This time the problem in getting things sorted is more my fault. Unfortunately my car has a fault and has been in the garage since Monday. They will not get the replacement part until middle of next week so I am a bit stuck. I have been unable to get into the TH this week. I could have walked but I do not like discussing things whilst sweating like a pig! Not fair on those present.

I will obviously get to the Zurgena NHW AGM tomorrow night at Latinos at 6.30pm. I have to, as I have got all the equipment that is needed. If you have an hour to kill tomorrow night it might be worthwhile going as, apart from the usual NHW stuff, we have a very interesting visiting speaker from an Earthship!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Post Boxes Update

Just to let those of you know, who have ordered a box in the new casetas, being built for Los Menchones (10 boxes through David Mallard) Cuesta de los Pinos (20 boxes, myself) and Los Llanos del Peral (10 boxes, Donna Walker) that the order has been placed and should be manufactured next week.

I believe all boxes requested have now been ordered. If you wanted one and have not confirmed your order to the appropriate person the last chance to be included, which may have already passed, will be by 0900 Monday 19th September. We will not be doing this again.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Anniversary & WiFi

These are the reason I have not get anything done this week. It was our anniversary yesterday so stayed in this hotel at the side of Lake Negratin, North of Baza. If you ever fancy a night by the lake this hotel was super and and the dinner was great. DBB for €125 with views to die for and I must recommend the salads.

Anyway enough of pleasure. The WiFi has been down again and this time it is due to a fault outside of our control. Telecom are investigating and hope to get it sorted soon.

I will try and sort some of the outstanding isues out tomorrow or early next week. Sorry for delay but you can see why.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Update (Post Summer)

Had a good long meeting with Candido and Kiko this morning to catch up how things stand at the moment and to raise some of our outstanding issues. I will list them in order of importance as I see it.

1. IBI Bills (Spanish version of Council tax). As you know we, as a council, indicated that these bills would be going out to all householders this August/September. That transpires not to be exactly accurate. The process (why am I not surprised) is more complicated than that. The Council have prepared and submitted to the Diputacion (the authority controlling IBI) details of about half the houses so far in Zurgena municipality. Salvadore, who is doing this work, will be submitting the remainder over the next few weeks. I am advised that what happens next is down to the Diputacion. But one important point of note is that, when they accept the paperwork for each property they should inform, by post, the occupier of that property, that they have accepted this and the clock, for the purposes of calculating what is to be paid starts. For example for a person with a Licence of 1st Occupation dated before 6th September 2007 who is notified that their paperwork has been received on say 1st December then the calculation for IBI will start on 1st December 2007 and if it takes the Diputacion one year to get the bill out they would then have a total of 5 years to pay. If however, they get the bill out this year then it would of course only be the 4 years. Please bear in mind whatever the scenario, regarding time frames, the Town Hall will be allowing payment by instalments. We still do not know how much the average annual bill will be but as I said in a previous post, I myself am budgeting in the region of €250 per annum. It was interesting to note that Candido stated that whilst they have made every effort to ensure the records are correct there may be some anomalies which need to be sorted out when eventually the Diputacion issue the bills and he asked that I let people know any such anomalies will be corrected when the Town Hall knows of them.
2. Certificate of Antiquity rather than License of 1st Occupation. The same rules will apply to a householder who has a Certificate of Antiquity rather than a Lic of 1st Occ. eg if that Cert shows the house was finished more than 4 years ago the 4 year rule will apply.
3. No Licence of 1st Occupation. The position the Town Hall has taken regarding all properties in the area is that they are all properly accounted for and therefore will receive IBI bills even if no Licence of 1st Occupation has been issued. However, it is believed that due to Spanish law once a householder is paying IBI they can apply to the Town Hall for a Licence of 1st Occupation (as mentioned some time ago).
4. Situation re court cases against the Town Hall. I had been informed that New Horizons were telling people that Anthonio had won a case in the Courts. I asked about this and Candido did confirm that a case, involving 50 to 60 houses on Cuesta de los Pinos, had been heard in the Appeal Court in Granada and the case had been found in favour of the Town Hall. There is still the option for the jUnta to take this to the highest Court in the country in Madrid but as they have lost the last 2 cases there we suspect they may not appeal it. The only other Court case in recent months, to be heard by the appeal court, was one in relation to the houses in Los Menchones which was also won by the Town Hall.
5. PGOU. When I raised this issue Candido gave a sigh and said that he was less than confident about the actions of the Junta regarding our PGOU. They, the Medio Ambient dept of the Junta have been asked by Zurgena Council to provide sectorial informs regarding the ramblas and some other detail, at the request of the Junta! Candido stated that they had not responded to our request and he felt they would respond slowly to any of the councils in the valley, as PSOE is blatantly blocking anything for the Almanzora valley again. We can only hope that in the elections in March they get well defeated, as seems likely, and we can get a Junta that we can deal with sensibly. It may be that the Medio Ambiente dept do respond and if they do we can move it forward.
6. Town Hall website for expats. I had heard rumour that this was to be an option but when I spoke to Candido and Kiko they said that this was unlikely. The existing may be amended but no new one is planned.
7. Street Lights. I raised with Candido the issue of street lights not working. Of which there are many. He informed me that most of these non functioning lights are covered by agereemenst with the companies who installed them. he would take the matter up with them and said he hoped they would attend to them all within a couple of weeks. I asked if it would help is people reported the streets where lights were out. he said that it would help, so if your street has lights which are not working please let me know. The ones I am aware of are Calle Francia, Irlanda, Finlandia, Malta in Cuesta de los Pinos, Calle Ter in Los Menchones and Calle Juan Ramon Jiminez in Llanos.
8. There have been no plenos whilst I have been on holiday.
9. Bowling Green. We are having serious problems with the company contracted to build the bowling green as they are saying that there is insufficient money in the contract to do a perfectly level concrete base. We maintain that the contract does cover that and we are holding them to it. Until that s finished to a satisfactory level then we cannot move to the next stage of the developement of the green, but we will keep pushing them.

As you can see there was a lot to cover, as is the way with September, but if you have any concerns or I have not clearly explained anything just let me know, through the mail link at the top of this page. Additionally as it has been along time since I managed to get into the Town Hall if you had an issue which I have not yet responded to please drop me a mail.

Addendum. The Wifi has suffered problems the past two days due to some vandals cutting the power supply to the cock tower in more than one place. It is being attended to today.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Apologies for the delay. I had hoped to get into the Town Hall last Friday or this Monday however, due to the Zurgena Fiesta did not catch anyone. I also had some surprise visitors but am hoping to sit down before the end of the week to catch up with what has been happening.

Update - no one in Thursday and I am away Friday sio it will be next week before I get down to discussions.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Last Call for Post Boxes

Obviously I was unable to get into the Town Hall on Friday as it was Zurgena fiesta, which I had completely forgotten about.

Secondly primarily fot he residents of Cuesta de los Pinos. I am finalising the numbers for the last caseta of post boxes for this area. Anyone who is interested and has not let me know by Tuesday next, will miss out. The cost will be a one off €33 and the box remains the property of the owner.

In relation to Llanos del Peral Donna Walker who is collating numbers for me is on holiday until the 4th September and if you live in that area please drop Donna an email at to ensure you are on the list.

In relation to Los Menchones, David Mallard is contacting people in his area his email is

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Holiday Over

Just to let you know I have returned from my holiday in the UK. Great fun but very tiring looking after the grandchildren including our newest grandchild, Jamie born on 31st July.

I will try and sit down with Candido and/or Kiko either tomorrow or Monday and catch up on any developments.

For the information of residents of Cuesta de los Pinos and Los Llanos del Peral I will try and finalise the numbers for the Correos' casetas by the end of next week so that the manufacturer can get started making them. It was as well that I waited as I have had quite a few more requests for boxes. If you live in either of these areas and are interested please let me know asap.

Also the programme for the Zurgena Fiesta is on Facebook under 'Ayuntamiento Zurgena'

I have included details for a new production by 'The Luvvies".They are looking for support due to their last production having to be cancelled due to the elections

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

New Car

Only one bit of news just now and that is that the Polizia Local have taken delivery of a nice new car. Thanks goodness the old one spent more time off the road than on it.

I will sort out the Post Casetas for Cuesta de los Pinos and Los Llanos when I return to work.I am currently on holiday until the 25th August.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

IBI and 3rd Age

Called into the Town Hall this morning and signed some papers relevant to a celebratory day for the 3rd Age (OAPs). This event is to be held around the 7th October and is a day long event for the elderly. I will make more details known nearer the time but it is an annual event which is hosted in different villages each year and his year it is the turn of Zurgena to host it. I think it must be a good 'do' as the costing for it €7,500!

Just to let you all know that Salvadore is still optimistic that the IBI bills will be going out to all households this September, as mentioned in previous blogs. To remind everyone that the Town Hall will raise these bills for a maximum retrospective period of 4 years or to the date of grant of the licence of 1st Occupation whichever came last. It is impossible to estimate what the annual rate will be as it is affected by so many factors. Just to give people a very rough indication I am budgeting for a total €1,000 for the 4 years.

I have ensured that Paco has all the lists for the street signs and lighting issues but with it being August coming up I don't expect lots to be resolved soon. Due to holidays and the time of year I do not envisage many updates to this blog during the next four weeks. I think the only days the Town Hall will be closed during August are 15th and 31st althoughn Andreas may be on his own quite a lot during this period.

Monday, July 25, 2011

List for Reconfirmation for Padron

As some of you may recall the Town Hall is supplied with a list every year of a random selection of names which the T.H. is tasked with checking that they should still be on the Padron. Please see below the current alphabetical list of those for whom we do not have telephone numbers. If your name is on the list or you know someone who is on it please ask them to call into the T.H. with their certificate of NIE or passport to confirm they should still be on the padron.

Pamela M Aldridge, David J Arnold, Karen A Baber, Natalie H Barr,John H Booth, Lesley F Booth,Richard A Brownlee, Janet Bull, Jeremy S Bull, Adele Bunting, Ann Calway, Samuel P Catchlove, Carl J Chapman, Joshua L Chapman, Samual J Chapman,Stuart N Cowap, Stephen J Dodsworth, Robert C Duggan, Michael E Ferre, Angela E Gould,Ian Gould, Michael R Goulder, Christopher P Hartley, Sarah L Hartley, Graham Haworth, Marion A K Haworth,Susan Hawes, Malcolm Hawes, Anthony M Hembery,Jennifer J Hembery, Richard J Holmes, Patricia R Hope, Dorothy Jeffcott, Derek Manchester,Vanessa L Manchester, Susan McCarthy, Daniel McGrory, Jamie R Macpherson, Derek G Marnoch, Christine A Marshall, Dennis Marshall, Kelly Metcalfe, Jeffrey Metcalfe, Bertyl A Miller, Davuid Miller, Elizabeth A Minta, Richard D Minta, Kevin D McGowan, Deborah J Morgan, Keith R Morgan, Margaret E Neal, Robert A Neal, Janice S M Onslow, Michael J Onslow, Paul Paddison, Susana E I Paddison, Derek Partington, Susan M Partington, Stephen A Pate, Graham Perrior, Aron C Priest, David J Porter, Jill Porter, Peter D Reld, Sharon T Salt, Jack Senior, Cynthia Seniuor, Dawn P Scott, Paul Scott, Rolf Schafing,Alaine J Singer, Christopher Singer, Julie D Summerson, Claire Amy Steel, Lille M Stewart, Donald S Thomas, Rachel M L Thomas, Lydia Unger, Eileen T Wallis, Stephen R Wallis.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Post Office Service Alterations

I have now been made aware of the fact that the Correos is going to cease holding post for areas which have available post boxes (Apartados) such as Llanos del Peral, Barrio de Chicago, Cucador, El Rocio, Los Menchones, Cuesta de los Pinos and Los Carasoles. This has been an aim of the Correos for some time and we need to ensure that those who wish to have mail delivered have the facility to receive it.

The current plan by the Correos is to cease this service by September or October of 2011.

This does not mean the Zurgena Correos Office will close for business it just means that they plan to offer a more pro-active delivery service. I need to find out more detail on this from Jose Aran the services manager and I will email him today.

The Correos Office will issue a more informative public notice in due course.

In relation to Los Llanos del Peral a circular is going round from the NHW coordinator Mr Walker to try and ensure that all those in that area who wish to have post delivered make their desires known to Mr Walker or me as soon as possible.

Secondly we had a good meeting yesterday regarding the Bowling Green for La Alfoquia. A number of suggestions were made and although the funding for the top surface is some months away we have got a commitment, I believe, to ensure that it is top quality. We have also looked at a few alterations to the layout to try and improve its standard of facilities.

Monday, July 18, 2011

18th July Pleno

We had our second Pleno meeting today. It went well and dealt with a couple of minor points including the help to be given to the agricultural sector and the agreement of the allocation of some more of the management positions for the councillors.

As usual a short meeting was held thereafter in the local bar which gave me the opportunity to deal with some other issues.

Firstly I raised the issue of the article, which some people had forwarded to me, regarding an article in some of the english papers, regarding a statement from the Junta about a decree which would help legalise properties but would, in effect, never give them full legal status. I showed Candido a translated copy of this article and he stated that he knew nothing of this suggestion and in any case we are, and will, continue to fight for full legal status for all our properties.

I have arranged to sit down with Candido and others from the Council in September to discuss how I can fulfil my new role for the 3rd Age and bring some new and supportive ideas to the role.

I again supplied Candido with a list of the street signs that are still not fitted. He agreed to speak with Paco regarding this list, the last time I had given Paco this list was October 2010). He also said that he would set the workers on, sorting the street lighting issues, on the streets I had informed him of last week, as soon as they have sorted the Fiesta lights.

I asked whether he felt that it was worthwhile doing the area street plans and he agreed and said we should get on with that after the holidays.

I also asked about when we could meet with the people regarding the bowling green surface and he said that he needed to discuss with Luiz, the architect, how much money we have left from the contract, within which is the budget for the bowling green, to see how much money is left before we meet. He agreed to discuss the situation with Luiz tomorrow morning and as I am in the Town Hall in the afternoon I can try and sort out a meeting with the surface suppliers after then.

We also had a further discussion about the Socribo houses electricity, a situation which was much more complex than I had realised but we seem to be nearer seeing a resolution.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Los Llanos del Peral Fire

The fire just to the North west of Llanos Del Peral last night was quite quickly dealt with by the authorities and it was restricted to the campo area.
It did look from our place as if it was threatening the village itself but a visit to the area this morning reveals that it did not get within reach of any buildings.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

New Staff at Zurgena

Was having a surgery this morning and discovered that the Town Hall has a replacement member of staff for Maribel (who is off on maternity leave). The replacement is a pleasant young man named Pedro Gomez, previously worked in Roquetas. This should help Andreas.

I delivered a dated, list of the streets where street lights were not working and we will see how quickly we get them working.

Whilst I was there I raised the idea, that I mentioned last year, about each area having a decent street plan displayed in a prominent position. It seems this idea might be better received this time around and so I will pursue it.

We are to have another Pleno session next Monday at 12 noon but the main purpose is to do with agricultural issues.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

More on Last Pleno Zurgena

Just realised I had not detailed some aspects of the last Pleno including the roles and responsibilities given to some of the councillors at the last Pleno. They are as follows,

Councillor with responsibility for Culture and Sport is Noelia Garcia Jiminez.
Councillor with responsibility for Public Services and Works is Candido Trabalon
Councillor with responsibility for the 3rd age, myself. I will speak with the other councillors but obviously I will need to meet with the people who currently representative the elderly in the villages. It is also my intention should I be allowed to, and I see no reason why not, to involve the ex pat elderly community and I will give some consideration as to how best to do this.

Additionally there was identified the councillors with responsibility for the various Organisations which have to be completed by law and these were,
La Alfoquia public school and Public Schools Franscisco Jose Ramos Martinez with Ana Isabel Sola Gomez.
Catastro, Salvador Ramon Sagarra Robles with Sampo Kullervo Pentilla.
Galasa, Sampo Kullervo Pentilla with Candido Trabalon
Consorcio of Fire and Rescue Noelia Garcia Jiminez with Ana Isabel Sola Gomez.
Proder, Candido Trabalon
Consorcio Levante (Refuse) Ana Isabel Sola Gomez, with Noelia Garcia Jimenez.
Mancommunidad de Almanzora (Representative body for all the valley) Francisco Jose Ramos Martinez with Candido Trabalon.

We also at that meeting established the composition of the Information Commissions for Hacienda and accounts and Urbanism. It was agreed that the commisisions be made up of the Mayor or his elected deputy and 2 reps from each of PA and PSOE and the Town Hall secretary.

Also included in this meeting was the agreement for the salaries for both the Mayor and his deputy. Lastly was the agreement for the position of Tesorero (this is the 3rd signatory required for all payments made by the Town Hall, the other two being the Mayor and Secretary) and we agreed that Salvadore from PA should be this person.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Drink Drive Campaign

Guardia Checks this week - Courtesy of Simply Spanish and Bruce Hobday. Thought it was worth putting on here for Zurgena residents.

20,000 breathalyser tests in Spain next week

A new awareness campaign is being carried out by the DGT

The DGT traffic authority is running 20,000 breathalyser tests across the country from Monday to next Sunday, as part of a general campaign against drink driving.

It will see members of the Federation of Spinal Court Injury Association accompany the Tráfico officers at more than 1,000 control points being set up on the roads. They will remind drivers ‘in situ’ of the very serious consequences that can result from drink driving.

In 2010 the Guardia Civil handed out 102,000 fines for positive breathalyser tests, and 16,000 were considered to have committed a crime for their high levels of alcohol. 42% of the drivers who died in traffic accidents last year tested positive for alcohol, drugs or psychotropic drugs.

Read more:

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Ist Pleno - Interesting!

Well today was the inaugural Plenary session of the new Administration for Zurgena and what an attendance there was. Given that, for the past 4 years, the average attendance of the public has averaged 1-2 persons, todays attendance of over 80 was quite an event. I was pleased to see a couple of expats there to! Andreas was a bit concerned at such a large crowd, but it worked out okay.

We had, as usual, a short pre meeting during which all points of the meeting were explained to me, to ensure that I was in agreement with our stance. This is the way we have worked for the past 4 years and I am glad we did.

Before the meeting started one of our opposition members, from PSOE, Luiz, approached and explained that there were no hard feelings about things which happened before and during the elections as it was only politics. I agreed and shook hands saying that that I understood and bore no bad feelings.

We worked through the agenda and agreed various positions etc The main ones of those being Hacienda - Salvadore, Galasa- Sampo, Public Works - Candido etc. The main purpose was to assign the roles for those bodies which are legally required and left the others to be dealt with by full Pleno meetings. It was also agreed that the full Council would sit at a minimum of once every 3 months. I will post a full list of roles and responsibilities later.

It was agreed that the role of Tesorero (eg the 3rd signature for all cheques etc for the Town Hall) would be Salvadore, (our No 2).

The opposition questioned whether Kiko was going to conduct a full Town Hall audit, as promised by PP prior to the election. Kiko responded by saying that he had found the Town Hall accounts to be in fine order and he did not think the Town Hall could afford the 30,000 euros it would cost to do something which, having seen the accounts, he felt was worthwhile.

During the meeting Maria Jose of PSOE, supported by Luiz, complained that, due to my lack of understanding of Spanish, I would be incompetent for holding any role within the Council and also that I could not understand any statements they (PSOE) were making during Plenary sessions. I suspect that she, and they, feel that I will be biased towards the expat community in any role I have. This could not be further from the truth of my intentions and hopefully I can disprove this attitude, during the next few months. The latter point I could see value in, but I doubt that they would entertain the only option I could suggest, which would be that they provide me, in advance, any issues they wish to be considered.

This suggestion , of my incompetence, was robustly refuted by Candido who, pleasingly for me, stated how much he had been impressed by my ability and effort over the past 4 years. That was nice. It does appear that I shall have a support role for security and a main role for the 3rd Age. In relation to the latter I will post separately some action I believe we need to take to balance things between expat elderly and local elderly.

Apart from the attack on my competence there was little that the opposition made any point on.

I thought Kiko did a good job of managing and controlling his first Pleno meeting.

After the meeting we (PP and PA) adjourned to the bar and I had the usual opportunity to get some particular points answered. Most of these points are particular to individuals so will not waste space here but contact the individuals directly.

I did however tell Candido that I would be compiling a list of street lights not working. He explained that there was a problem with the contracted maintenance company for the lights and he and Kiko need to discuss but if I supplied him with a list he would see what could be done. So those of you with a problem with lighting (except Calle Malta already noted) , please email me and I will let him have the details. Once I had done that he said that he would return the favour by asking me about things to do with the 3rd age.

Candido did ask that I mention the fact that there are activity classes at the municipal pool between 9am and 2.0pm and 8.0pm and 10pm each weekday for residents.

I also discovered that Candido is not taking any salary from the Town Hall, in his role as councillor for Public Services, and is now signing on at the employment office

I have been asked by the owner of the building, currently used as the Supermarket Bonillo, in the centre of Zurgena, to advertise the fact that this, 150 sq metres building premises, will soon be available for rent for any type of business. If anyone is interested please contact me and I can put them in touch with the appropriate person.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Pleno and Party

I have been invited today to a party for PP and PA councillors to get together with their partners, however, I have an urgent insurance investigation to undertake (paid work!) down South so will be unable to make it.

The rearranged first Plenary Session (Council meeting) of the new administration, is now to be held next Wednesday 6th July at 12 noon.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

WiFi Problem

There is a interruption to the WiFi today (Thursday 30th). They are working on it and it should be back up soon.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

1st Meeting of PP and PA Zurgena & Translation Medical Service for info

Tonight we had the first meeting between the PA councillors and the PP councillors.

A few problems had been discovered in the paperwork for tomorrows Pleno and there were some discrepancies that needed to be resolved. I have to say that my thoughts on the future of our alliance were greatly improved. I found Kiko, Anna and Sampo to be considered and thoughtful people and we worked through the issues without a problem. All 3 of the PP councillors were, as I had hoped, patient with me and ensured that I understood all that was said. I feel much happier, now that we have done a bit of work together, that we can continue to do so in the future.

Unfortunately, due to the amendments we need to make to the paperwork, the Pleno has had to be delayed, but it is obviously important that we get things right both legally and administratively. It should only be a matter of a couple of days.

I am indebted to Bruce Hobday for the following reminder regarding the Health Service translation service,

Telephone translation service in all Andalucian health centres (Reminder
The Junta has a simultaneous translation service for non-Spanish speakers in all it’s medical centres. (I do not believe they will translate for you at doctors etc, just make appointments and health advice
The system currently supports 46 languages, and consists in the doctor and patient being able to talk via a translator over a conference call from a central call centre.

The Junta de Andalucía and Andalucian Health Service have launched a new service for non-Spanish speakers who need to visit a doctor.
Currently, doctors will not treat non emergency cases unless the patient speaks Spanish or brings a translator.
The new Salud Responde service allows a doctor to make a conference call to a translation service, whose operator will translate to and from the patient.
The new service will be available in 46 different languages and has a budget of 450,000€ a year.
Currently, the Andalucian Health Service estimates that it serves some 500,000 residents of Andalucia a year who do not speak Spanish, plus a further 9 million tourists a year.
Out of the 46 languages on offer, 11 will be available 24 hours a day every day of the year, the other 35 will be available from 8.00-18.00 every working day.
The main eleven languages are: German, Arabic, Mandarin, Bulgarian, Slovakian, French, English, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian and Russian.
Since the translators are all professional medical translators, the patient is guaranteed a professional, reliable free and confidential service, which will prevent them having to find a medical translator and receive full impartial medical information.
Salud Respondeis a unique service in Spain that has never been tested before.
It also allows patients to book appointments with their GP or medical centre in their language by calling 902 505 060; faxing 953 018 715; visiting their webpage online at or sending an SMS to 600 123 400 with the word CITASAS followed by your medical card patient number.
It is also trialling a telephone health system whereby citizens can call for free medical advice on trivial symptoms.

At Last

Looks like things are at last moving. I am to meet with Candido tonight at 4.30pm and then all the councillors for PP and PA are to meet at 5.0pm in advance of our meeting tomorrow.

I picked up a copy of the agenda for tomorrows meeting and it does show that we will be discussing/agreeing the various roles etc for each of the councillors amongst a number of other items.

Lets hope we can form a productive, sensible and beneficial administration to improve Zurgena over the next 4 years.

Friday, June 24, 2011

!st Pleno

The first Plenary session of the new administration is to be held next Wednesday the 29th June at midday. That is when we will find out how things are going to be organised for the next four years. I hope!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Some of you may be aware that Andreas has moved from his reception post to one upstairs. This is only temporary, as he is having to cover for Maribel, who is pregnant, and due to leave to have her baby soon.

It will cause a few problems on reception but we will just have to try and muddle through. I suppose it does help Andreas in his career as he will be learning additional skills.

It is hoped that the first Pleno will be held this coming Friday but that is of course down to the new Mayor.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Link re Paramount & No News

No news on when the first Pleno of the new administration is to be held and therefore we are no further forward yet in knowing what everyone will be doing. I await this with baited breath.

It was good to see that one of the primary issues, which people reported in the February survey, was the messy state of the embankment when approaching Zurgena from La Alfoquia. It was pleasing to see that our old administration managed to get this problem tackled. And whilst it is not completely finished, it is a good way towards that end. If you look down to the bottom you can see the tons of rubbish so far removed.

I do have to thank all those of you, who took the time, to pass on their appreciation for Candido's attitude in standing down from the Mayoral election to allow some form of alliance to take place even though his party had the most votes. I have provided him with a synopsis of the content of those emails.

The below link is an interesting article on the proposed new Paramount theme park in Murcia.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

New Administration

Today was the day for the inauguration of the new Council. It was a bit strange, as, after last nights meeting, there were still some suggestions that the pact may not take place and we were still discussing issues until the last possible moment. However, at 11.0am we opened the meeting which was attended by about 2-300 members of the public.

As is the law, the eldest elected councillor (me), takes the presidents role and the youngest (Noelia) sits at the presidents right hand. Fortunately Isa (our Town Hall secretary and a really kind and helpful lady) confirmed for me that she would do all the necessary bits as long as I responded in the correct places with a nod or agreement. This I happily agreed to do! After reading out the results of the elections, each of the elected councillors had to walk to the front of the top table and repeat the oath. Which is basically to promise that to fulfil your obligations to the Council. We then went to the process of electing the Mayor. Candido informed the meeting that he would not be standing for election as Mayor, which left it as straight race between Francisco of the PP and Luiz of the PSOE. It was agreed that it should be decided on a show of hands and, as we had discussed, PA all voted for Francisco, meaning he was elected on a majority of 7 to 4. Each party leader then said a few words and the meeting was concluded.

Then, previously unknown to me, all of our party and some of the PP adjourned to the animal park in La Alfoquia for a BBQ and small celebration of the new administration. I had other plans so was only able to enjoy the first couple of hours.

From the PP members I was able to talk to I think (and hope) that we will be able to work together for the betterment of our village, but time will tell. The next Pleno will be where we discover who is to hold which posts and how the administration is going to work. This should be next week and I will post once that becomes clear.

Talk about Last Minute

As I mentioned in the last post I was called to a meeting at La Vida Restaurant last night. When I got there I discovered that all the Partido Andalucista members had been summoned and the purpose was for Candido to put to us the latest developements regarding the new administration.

Candido opened the meeting and explained that the past 2 weeks had been the craziest he had been involved in in politics. Up until Wednesday, he explained, that PP and PSOE had a written agreement to take control of the council for the next 4 years with the PP mayoral candidate being Mayor for all 4 years with no cost to PP! Candido did say that he had one option left as late as Wednesday and that was to go directly to the PP regional political masters, which is what he did. When he entered the negotiations he knew that the only way to make progress was to accept the PP candidate as mayor for the full term. He was willing to do this and thereby forfeit his potential to be mayor if three conditions were met. These were that a) no Town Hall workers would be sacked, b) the funding for the solicitors, who are defending all property owners, be continued and lastly that the PA councillors had meaningful roles. The first two of these matters were things, we were concerned, that PSOE would do if they had control. He revealed that the PP politicians in Almeria agreed to this. As a result of that and some other things which he later explained to us we have shaken hands on an agreement to form an alliance with PP.

There are certain benefits which could come out of such an affiliation, none least of course, the benefit of regional government looking more kindly on our decisions. I immediately asked if this would have any impact on the PGOU and Candido said that that nothing could really hamper the PGOU as any amendment to it requires a Pleno with a majority of 6.

Candido revealed also that the 4 representatives of PA, would each be given a role with autonomy e.g. each would have the ability to, in their field, exercise the rights as if he were Mayor e.g. to agree or not to agree to undertake things without having to refer to the Mayor. He explained that PA would have control of the following remits, Public Services and Works, Culture, Sports and the 3rd Age. These would have to be finalised at the first Pleno after the inauguration Pleno probably next Monday.

He said he felt this was a strange situation because he was asking the PA councillors to vote for the PP candidate and yet he has not been able to talk directly to him since the election. All the negotiations have been done through Almeria. He said that this deal helped PP show that they had another council under their control, by having the Mayor but of course we still have the 4 votes he would need to progress anything. He then put this agreement to the members and asked if anyone thought we should not go through with this deal and after a debate the consensus was that this was the best we could do and we should work with it.

I suspect that this mornings inauguration meeting in the Town Hall could be quite explosive as a number of people do not know what the outcome is likely to be. The Police will be in attendance and I hope we do not see the kind of tricks employed on Election day!

I will update the blog later today with the outcome of this morning meeting which is really just to inaugurate the administration and elect a Mayor. At the conclusion of the meeting I thanked Candido for being big enough to turn down the Mayorship in the wider interests of the town.