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Monday, April 23, 2012

Civil Protection Meeting

One of the issues, many people have emailed regarding this meeting, was in relation to the language. I can confirm that it will be bilingual and that any volunteers do not need to speak Spanish. The Civil Protection volunteers are trained bilingually and all actions are controlled through code numbers. So language is not a barrier.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Civil Protection Meeting Bando

IBI Update , WiFi and Recent Paper article.

Firstly the WiFi server is properly operational again. As from today. So no more free WiFi, for those who have been able to connect without a password for the past few weeks! As a result anyone whose payment was due and has not paid will also be unable to connect. Andreas was pulling his hair out this morning with so many callers querying the WiFi situation. Regarding the IBI process. As you know Salvadore has done all the work for this and has been submitting the files for all the properties, effectively on behalf of all house owners. The Hacienda in Almeria on receiving these files does one of two things, either it examines and accepts the files, in which case they will raise the IBI bill or, they will not accept it for any number of reasons. If they do this for your property they will send a letter to the householder which will bear the heading,"ACUERDO DE NO ALTERACION DE LA DESCRIPCION CATASTRAL." If you receive one of these letters please take it as soon as you can into the Town Hall and ask to give it to Andreas for Salvadores' attention. He is compiling a file and he will resolve the issues. I have also asked the Correos to forward any undelivered letters from the Hacienda to me and I will try and get them to the correct person. Just to save them getting sent back! I have had passed to me, by a couple of people, a report from the online newspaper dated the 10th April. This article had given rise to some concerns about a court ruling regarding the nulling of a Plenary session of the Town Hall held in 2007. I have discussed the case with Candido and there are (as usual) a number of falsehoods and anomalies in this article. First of all this is not news, the court ruling it refers to was November last year! Secondly the document that it refers to was a paper which was approved in Pleno to allow the expansion of the urban areas, however, the document was never used and had no effect on any licences. The Pleno meeting could actually, if the opposition parties of PP and PSOE had supported the PA administration, stopped any of the issues which have given rise to all our problems. But they did not and that was why the court ruled that the Pleno could not approve the document. Apparently in normal events a simple majority can pass by-laws in Pleno, however, in events concerning loans or urban issues, it has to be an absolute majority and, as PA only had 5 councillors then, with PP 2 and PSOE 4 and the PSOE councillors all staying away from the meeting and only one PP politician attended, and he voted against, then it was not an absolute majority (which would have needed 6 votes for). Additionally one full paragraph of the article is completely false. I asked if people should be concerned about the ruling and Candido said that there was no impact in this ruling whatsoever as stated above it was for a document which was never used or even considered. Still places on the visit to the Spanish Legion Base on 10th May.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Civil Protection and Others

As a council, we are hoping to establish a Civil Protection unit for Arboleas and Zurgena. To that end we will be having a meeting for anyone interested in serving in it. I would commend it to all as an excellent way of helping us integrate and helping the community. The Bando giving more details should be published in the next week and I will put the details on here when I am allowed.

There is another opportunity for anyone who missed the trip round the Spanish Legion base at Almeria to do on the 10th May. For those who did not go last time it was a great couple of hours. The staff at the base were very helpful and friendly and it was quite an eye opener to see the base and to enjoy their company. Anyone who is interested in going on this tour please let me know and I can give you the details.

I was unable to grab Candido today to discuss the latest article in the paper about one of the court cases and will try again tomorrow. I left a list of the issues you had asked me to raise with him re street lights and obscured road junctions.

There was one Certificate of Expediente ready and that was one for a Mr Ronald Owen Symonds. If anyone knows him please ask him to call in to the Town Hall for it as there is no answer to the number we have for him. Unfortunately none of the others are yet ready! I will keep asking.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Latest Things

I was informed at 1.20pm Friday that there was a meeting of the coalition councillors at 1.0pm. Just a wee bit late, although I did discover that Ana wanted this to be a regular meeting each week at 1.0pm Fridays.

We discussed a number of things and I will post more detail after our formal meeting on MOnday. Two of the things which we discussed and hope to progress soon were a) the cleaning up of open areas by builders/developers and b) the recruitment of volunteers for the Civil Protection unit for Zurgena. This latter issue is one which is actively supported by the expat community in other parts of Spain and greatly assist integration. I will update next week.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Solicitors Scam & Easter

Some time ago, I had reported to me, by a number of people, letters being received from solicitors purporting to suggest that in order to prevent their houses being demolished they needed to retain their services and asked for fees for this. Others had letters suggesting they could legalise their homes in return for payments of fees and most recently a resident near Cucador received a letter from, what was previously thought to be, a bona fide a large firm of solicitors. This letter stated that the solicitors had received a communication from a Spanish Tax office in Malaga requiring the recipient of the letter to pay €7,000.
I took this to the Town Hall and asked the Secretary about this and she confirmed my thoughts that Malaga, of course, has no authority over Zurgena.
I had recently had a meeting with a company of solicitors from Almeria, who had been recommended to me, so I thought I would test them out by asking their advice on this letter. They immediately asked me to inform the recipient to pay nothing. They then asked me if I knew of any other cases as they would consider taking it up with the Guardia Civil as in their opinion there appeared to be a criminal offence.
So if there is anyone who has received any such communication recently please let me know.
The programme for Easter will be the same as previous years. The main events take place in Zurgena and smaller ones in La Alfoquia. On Thursday afternoon there will be mass followed by a procession. Friday morning mass followed by events afternoon and midnight. Sunday morning mass followed by procession and music. La Alfoquia is similar except smaller and the Sunday mass will be on Saturday morning. This all depends on the weather as it is anticipated that we may have rain before Sunday however, Sunday is expected to be nice.
Also from the 5th to 8th April there is a display of work by an artist in the Municipal Theatre 1100x1300 and 1700x1900 each day.
The Town Hall will be closed Thursday and Friday.
The Town Hall secretary is on holiday all this week.
I left a list of those wifi, lighting and cleaning issues which have recently been reported to me for the information of Public Works councillor (Candido).

Monday, April 2, 2012

Obtaining a Disabled Card

Thought some of you may find this communication, which I received recently from an expat, of value and it does show that some of the bureaucracy is not so leisurely,

Regarding obtaining a disabled card:
I 1st saw the social department official with the report from the Consultant and with a letter from the Doctor. He filled in the necessary forms and said that I should hear from Almeria with an appointment. He said this might be 3-4 months.
However I was given an appointment with the Social Services in Almeria within a month.
I was then assessed as to my degree of disability which entailed seeing 3 people. One who was Social Services, the 2nd a Doctor and 3rd a psychologist. They then have a meeting to discuss my disability and decide whether I am entitled to a card. They said that I would hear with in 14 - 28 days and I received it within the 14 days.