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Saturday, May 26, 2012

IBI Zurgena

Sorry I should have included in the last post about IBI. As we were discussing the financial concerns about our funding for this financial year I heard one of the councillors saying, "If we get the IBI monies in this year." As I had been led to believe that everyone would get their bills this year, I waited an opportunity, and then asked if there was some likelihood that we would not all get our IBI bills this financial year. I was told that we have done all we can and it is now up to the Diputacion to get the bills out. There is some concern that not all bills will be out in time for this year. I was told, again by Kiko and Candido that there best guesstimate was somewhere in the region of 50 to 60% of home owners would get them by this September.
So sorry to have misled you but I am only reporting what I am told.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Solicitors and Bits 25.5

Yesterdays meeting with the solicitors helped me  understand why Isa gets annoyed, with me asking about expedientes. She let the chief of the chambers have it both barrels yesterday about her inability to get answers from them. One example was of over 6 phone calls in one day without any response. So where I was thinking that it was Isas fault it plainly is the solicitors. Sampo agreed with me to send a letter to the solicitors asking for an update on the outstanding expedientes next week.
There were a number of other discussions about various things one of which was the Secretary we used to have a year or so ago. It transpires that there were a number of issues about his work which we needed to address otherwise it would reflect on the Town Hall.
We also discussed the financial arrangements we have with them as we feel we are not getting best value for money.

The coalition councillors met in Anas' office as usual today and had a good thrash about issues which were of concern. One was the issue of our inability to issue building licences but that did not mean that people should attempt to build things without submitting projects and applying for the licences. We agreed that we needed to enforce that.
We then discussed our Provisional Plan for this year which includes a number of the previous projects including the surfacing of Avenida Poetas. The discussion was around how we could raise the €9000 which we ned to have before the Diputacion put in their funds.  We agreed that we should try and take an advance on the IBI of one third for each of the next 3 years. Candido is to attend at the Diputacion next Tuesday to seek agreement so that we can plan ahead. In relation to the road surfacing both Kiko and Candido said that we should be able to complete it within 3 to 6 months. As explained before the previous project was a PA plan and as PP now have the mayoral role the plan had to be redrawn.
We then discussed the situation regarding the 8 houses which the Town Hall owns but for which no rent is being paid. It was agreed that we look at discussing this with the occupants and reevaluating their needs.
There were 2 applications for street closures for parties. The one for Calle Luxemburgo (for a Jubilee event) was agreed but one for the village which impacts on the main road needs further consideration due to safety issues.
I forgot to ask about the court case against Manolo at Huercal Overa so will have to try and ask next week.
At the conclusion of the meeting Candido informed me that he now has the signs for the streets we requested some months ago for Palaces. He hoped to fit them in the next couple of weeks.

Also a message from Andy Mortimer re the Legion

There is an open day at the Legion Base on Friday 1st June. There will be a parade and a swearing in ceremony for civilians. There is no need for invitations but I have been asked to let the security people know who intends to come. Anybody interested in coming should send their names and Id. or Passport numbers to me at: by Tuesday, please.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
All the best,
PS. I will be holding a coffee morning at Hotel El Puntazo for anyone interested in hosting a student for the upcoming intensive course in Mojacár from 18th to 29th June.
PPS. Please forward this email to anyone you feel might be interested

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Busy Week

This is proving to be a busy week!

 Firstly we had a meeting of the coalition councillors yesterday which was a pre meeting for tomorrow as we have dignity arriving in Zurgena. The President of the PP in Almeria is visiting us at 5.0pm today.

 Secondly we have the Palaces Fiesta this coming weekend. I do not yet have the order of events but no change there!

 I asked about the court case against the various people,which the press referred to last week in Huercal Overa. Candido informed me that the case against himself and most of the others named in the case had been withdrawn but it was proceeding against Manolo (ex deputy mayor) and one or two others. He said the reason for this was the Fiscal Officer responsible for instigating these proceedings had changed his allegations (after 7 years!). We hope to find out more on Thursday, as all the coalition councillors are having a meeting with the solicitors on Thursday to discuss a number of cases.

 Regarding the Civil Protection unit Ana has agreed with me that we can accepot applications for consideration for membership of the Civil Protection until mid June. So if anyone wants to join our joint CP unit please let me know as I still have a few application forms left.

 We still have not yet had a date for the man from Almeria to answer our 3rd Age questions but it has not gone away!

 Lastly a reminder about the home stay students referred to in the last blog. Please consider helping out.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Spanish Cadets English Home Stay Needed.

I have a request from a friend who is looking to find people willing to host Spanish Home Stay Artillery Academy students as outlined below. There is a small financial consideration, but the main thing is for us to find people willing to host a Spanish student to help them learn Spanish. I understand it can lead to friendships. The intensive course is for Artillery Academy students. I have 28 artillery cadets plus their instructor coming for homestay from the 18th to the 29th June. There will be three groups for classes and activities in the afternoon. The rest of the time they will be with the host families. May be necessary to ferry them about a bit as they are not bringing their own transport. The students will be in class form 09:30 to 13.00 will have packed lunches and carry on with afternoon activities and return to the host families for 18:00 hours. This is a big job and I will need all the help I can get, please. Primarily we are looking for homes on the coast around Mojacar, Garrucha and Vera but also we need to compile a list of people willing to do so in all areas. So if you think you could help in this regard please email me asap.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Town Hall trip and Last Pleno

The Zurgena councillor for culture and sports (Noelia) has organised a coach trip to Los Velez for a cost of €10, including lunch and various guided tours including the castle, ham factory, museum etc. It will depart 0800 on 31st May returning about 6.0pm. If you are interested please pay the €10 before the 28th May. Places are limited so it will be first come first served. At the Pleno held on Tuesday the purpose was to agree the plan we had previously discussed as to how we would repay the monies we need to obtain from the Regional authorities. We agreed to our original plan over 10 years, despite the opposition vociferously arguing that we could do it in 4 years if we used the salaries that we pay certain councillors and stopped paying the solicitors defending the property actions!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Continued Efficiency

It never ceases to amaze me how inefficient bureaucracy is in Spain. I told everyone I could think of last week that I was going to be away from Friday morning until Monday evening this last weekend as I was going to Barcelona for the Grand Prix. So what happens, firstly on Friday morning en route to Barca I get a cal to day there is a Pleno organised for 12 midday Monday! Ad I am driving Sue takes the call and tells them again I will not be available. Then Monday morning on the way back down from Barca, another phone call to ask how far I was from the Town Hall (600kms). Then later the same day whilst still en route, "will I be available for a Pleno tomorrow at 8.0pm." I tell them yes. I make arrangements for another appointment, for an unrelated matter, for 4.0pm. Then lastly I get a mesasage to say that this important meeting tomorrow at 8.0pm is now at 3.0pm and so I have to rearrange the appopintment I had just made. I have made a suggestion which may prove tricky, but what about if a member of staff rings each councillor, in advance of arranging a meeting to see who would be available!!! Probably a bit too complicated!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sunday Walk

Sorry for the late notification but I now have details of the organised walk this coming Sunday the 13th. It will start at 0930 from the Renfe in La Alfoquia. Before commencement there will be a breakfast and on conclusion of the walk there will be a Paella. This is an event held occasionally and organised by the Councillor for Culture and Sports, Noelia. She is hoping that a good number of expats support the walk. The cost is €5 without food or €13 with food. In order to take part you must pay your subscription before 2.0pm this Thursday. There is a complicated way to make the payment online through the website but, when I explained that this might put people off, she suggested that if you call into the Cajamar bank in Zurgena and tell them you want to make a payment for the Primavera Sendero of either €5 or €13 making it payable to "Fuente del Peral" in the account of Zurgena Ajuntamiento, they will give you a receipt which the TH can confirm then that you are eligible for the walk. From people I know who went on a previous walk it was exceptionally well organised and enjoyable. I was hoping to go on the next one myself however, I am away that day, and will have to wait until the next one probably in the Autumn. So come on all you walkers get your fees paid and enjoy the walk. I reminded Candido regarding the dangerous exit from Calle Miguel Servet in Los Menchones which hopefully this time will be attended to. The following are the latest names I have been given to confirm they still should be on the Padron. If you are or know of any of these people please ask them to call into the Town Hall (when they next can) and tell Juanjo that they should still be ont he Padron. They will need to take their NIE or passport with them, John and Anne Holder, Michael O'Connor, Doreen Sands, Mark Anthony Seabrooke, Jack Robert Craig Tolley, Valerie Lendell, Michelle Ruth Scott, Martin Owen Short, Sarah Steel.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Councillors Meeting 4th May

We had out weekly meeting in the TH today. Starting at 12.30pm (well 1.10pm actually never mind thats not too bad)! Amongst other things we discussed was our intention to change the recreation areas around somewhat in La Alfoquia. It was a simple matter to decide how we should rearrange the facilities to benefit everyone, both the kids and the elderly. Additionally we are arranging for the area to be cleaned once more and reopened. Then we discussed what we should do about the one outstanding project eg the mini golf course for Cuesta de los Pinos (18,000 euros). Ana asked us if, with the financial situation as it is, we should reconsider this project. She proposed that we could use the money instead for renovation of a building which e could use to provide training for the increasing number of unemployed in the area. I agreed that that would probably be a better use of the money if that was what the majority thought. We then had a lengthy discussion about a recent application for another pig farm. This one to be located 2 kms NW of Llanos el Peral. Due to the complexity of the issue, and the precedent this could set, it was decided that this should be agreed by a full Plenary session. We also discussed progress on getting area cleaned by their owners and what we should do where out requests failed to obtain the correct action. There will be another organised walk in the mountains on Sunday 13th May. I will circulate when, and if, I know about the detail. On the 14th May they are hoping to update and improve the Town Hall website. On the 10th May there will be a programme launched to improve recycling etc.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Embroidery Exhibition in the Renfe

Please see below details (babel translation) of an exhibition this Sunday in the Renfe This Sunday 6 of May, will take place in the facilities of the RENFE, the Exhibition of Refajos, organized by the Cultural Association " Land of Esparto" with the following attached schedule. In the sample, they are going away to set out works carried out by Mountain Paqui in the classes of embroiderings. Also, one is going away to make a recognition to its mother (Rosita) like impeller of the embroiderings in Zurgena. The philosophy of the Cultural Association is the diffusion of that one daily culture, nearer people, which much people does and who rarely have recognition. The exhibition will be open of 10:00 to 20:00 hours throughout Sunday and to the 12:00 hours the presentation will be realised. From the Cultural Association and the City council, we hoped to count on the presence of all the neighbors and neighbors of the Municipality.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Civil Protection & Car Company

Firstly I arrived back from 10 days in the UK yesterday afternoon and had the meeting for the Civil Protection launch in the evening. To say I was disappointed in the turn out is an understatement, however, there were sufficient people there from both the Spanish and Expat community to make it probable that we will be able to get a fledgling CP Unit here in Zurgena. The stand in Mayoress, Ana, organised the meeting and opened it. The meeting was addressed by Tulli (the No 1 for Albox( and Anthonio (his No 2). Sampo provided the interpretation. The two CP officers gave a presentation about the working of the Civil Protection unit in Albox and pointed out that there was a high percentage of members who were expats. They highlighted the work they did in relation to the fire in Mojacar, the earthquake in Lorca and the big fire in Albox. They also stressed the fact the C.P. is a purely voluntary organisation and is made up of men and women who want no reward, other than the appreciation of the neighbours. Tulli stressed how many personal thanks he and his men received, particularly after their work in Lorca. Just over 50% of the audience who attended were expats and at the conclusion of their presentation questions were invited from the floor and these ranged from particulars of the rank structure to uniforms and the like. I asked how they overcame the difficulties of language and they explained that when they deployment was considered the local commander would try and pair up one Spaniard with one expat to ensure that this did not present any obstacles to doing the work. He stressed how purely voluntary the organisation is (he himself is a fireman but this does not stop his CP duties)and that in all cases the local commander would contact his men/women to see who would be available for any event or contingency, where they could provide help. If someone was working or busy or otherwise unavailable then there would be no compunction. Training is provided in first aid, use of a defibrillator, self defence etc and they are considering trying to get mountain rescue training. At the end of the meeting application forms were available to those attending. I have a number of spare copies should anyone want one. Or if you have any questions please email me at the above address and I will try and answer these. I personally hope we can get it off the ground. Nationally the emergency services are looking at a possible trying year as the fire danger is likely to be high again. Volunteers do not need to be doctors or nurses or ex firemen. Everyone can assist in helping to provide a service that can provide real support for our community so if you think you could help please get in touch or call into the Town Hall.

Secondly I have been asked by an (expat) company which is expanding in our area to mention their company. The company is SRS vehicle services who have opened premises at the rear of New Horizons offices. They provide many different vehicle services, which can be viewed on their website at They are holding an inauguration event at their new premises on Friday the 4th May at 7.0pm to which all are invited.