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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Budget Woes

Was in the Town Hall to meet with Candido and find out what else he needed to tell me about the budget. I was dismayed to discover that following our considerations last week we are nearly €300,00 short. The only suggested way forward to ensure we can do what we need to do si for the paid councillors, including Candido, to forgo any salary (and that is his families only income) and for about 4 members of staff to lode their jobs so that we have the money necessary for the urgent works we need to complete.

The reason for this is simply down to the slowness of the bureaucracy  As a TH we spent between 50 and 60,000 euros in urgent work following the flood of 28th September. The regional authorities opened the lines for T.H.s to make claims in October and we submitted ours. This was paid just over one week ago! Therefore even if they open the lines,for us to make the subsequent claims (which for us total a few million euros), next week it would take until October to be likely to receive the monies. Some of our works including the sewerage issue need to be done before summer so we are not going to get the money in time for that. I asked about whether we can push the Diputacion for the IBI bills but we cannot. I asked if we could push the authorities for this compensation money but was told we cannot. So some hard choices ahead.

As a result of that and the fact that we cannot get much doen now until after Easter I did not pursue any other issues.

I dis ask on behalf of one resident about the situation regarding the court case against the Sunlit houses and was told that the Contencioso Court in Almeria had ruled in favour of the TH but that subsequently the Junta had appealed it and we have heard no more yet. So still waiting.

I will get back to the other outstanding issues next week once eater is out of the way.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Difficult Discussions & Village Vote

I understand that there are very difficult discussions taking place to agree the budget for this year. This is not surprising given the difficulties we face this year. I had arranged to meet Candido on Monday morning but he was at home working on some changes to the budget and then again today the same happened but he was in a meeting with Kiko.
These meetings obviously take precedence over the issues I have to discuss with him and given how close we are to easter weekend I doubt I will get very far before then.
The issue of the pigs (on private land) is being researched by Manolo the Town Hall secretary, who said that years ago most Spanish families in the country would have reared pigs and slaughtered them before Xmas. Nowadays there are rules and he is trying to find the definitive laws and I will communicate that to those affected.
The WiFi issue is still ongoing and I suspect part of he negotiations re the budget as we need to sign off an annual maintenance contract if the engineer is willing to take it on.

Below is a copy of the voting form for the 6 landmarks of the village that you think are most important. If you wish to register your preferences print off a copy complete and drop into the Town Hall.
If you have trouble printing off let me know and I will send a copy by email.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Best Budget Meeting Ever

Best budget meeting ever.
Candido arranged for the PA councillors to meet at Salvadore's home to discuss the budget for this year. That was Noelia, Salvadore, Candido, myself and Fran.
What hospitality Salvadore and his wife Caty provided.
At the start of the meeting we had home made apple tart, coffee and brandy. Then after more than 2 hours discussions, I was about to leave but Salvadore said, no stay for a beer. I thought it would be impertinent not to so did. However it was much more than a beer. Caty then set the table with all sorts of foods including a lovely salad, mussels and some things I have never tasted, including a very strong Asturian cheese. All to be washed down with beer and a lovely red wine.
When I was full I thanked Caty and Salvadore. As I left the house Salvadore said ,"you know this is your house anytime." What a lovely, friendly, kind and generous couple. Really lovely Spanish hospitality.

The meeting did after much calculation manage to reach agreement on the issues and finances for the next year and these will now be discussed with our coalition partners.

Siempre encuentro presupuesto mejor.
Candido dispuestas para que los concejales del PA en casa de Salvadore para discutir el presupuesto para este año. Eso fue Noelia, Salvadore, Candido, yo y Fran.
¿Qué hospitalidad Salvadore y su esposa Caty proporcionan.
Al comienzo de la reunión tuvimos aguardiente, café y tarta de manzana hecha casera. Entonces después de más de discusiones de 2 horas, estaba a punto de irse pero Salvadore dijo, no hay estancia para una cerveza. Pensé que sería impertinente no a hizo lo mismo. Sin embargo es mucho más que una cerveza. Caty entonces poner la mesa con todo tipo de alimentos incluyendo una ensalada de bonita, mejillones y algunas cosas que no he probado nunca, incluyendo una asturiana muy fuerte queso. Todo para ser regadas con cerveza y un encantador vino tinto.
Cuando estaba completo agradeció a Caty y Salvadore. Como izquierda la casa Salvadore dijo: "sabes que esta es su casa en cualquier momento". Lo que un encantador, ambiente, tipo y pareja generosa. Realmente encantadora hospitalidad española.

La reunión, después de mucho cálculo, lograron llegar a un acuerdo sobre las cuestiones y las finanzas para el próximo año y ahora éstos serán discutidos con nuestros socios de coalición.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wednesday 20th March

Following my inability to see Candido last week, I met up with him today to go over your (and my) many issues, which were outstanding, the main ones of which are listed below.

Firstly I asked if we had heard any result from the last Court case (which was heard 2 weeks ago). Candido stated that they expected to hear the ruling the week after easter. He also told me that the authorities were trying to lump another case, into those covered by the Operation Costurero ones. At this point Salvadore jumped in and said that the press were referring to a case involving 252 houses, when in fact the case actually mentioned, was in regard to a piece of land with a hole in it (near the pool bar in La Alfoquia). The other case has (as was mentioned in an earlier blog been postponed until June).

I then asked what stage we were at in getting the WiFi back online. Cuesta de los Pinos has been offline for nearly a month and part of La Alfoquia for 3 months. Candido explained that he had been hoping to get a meeting with an internet engineer from Almeria, who he had made contact with, but that this had not happened but would do this coming Friday. I can only apologise for the delays in getting this sorted. He is hopeful that this engineer will agree to take on a contract to maintain the whole network for the future. I will chase up next week.

The next and, for me, the most important issue, was the work necessary to repair, reinstate or temporarily make good, the sewerage treatment works for Cuesta de los Pinos. Candido explained that it was, for him, also a major issue, that we need to consider. He has an undertaking with a company through the Diputacion to repair the pipework and install a smaller but appropriate processor (because to replace like for like would be too expensive for us at the moment) before the summer. He also said we need to fight to have this budgeted for, in our 2013 budget negotiations due soon, to ensure it does progress. I stressed that, for me, when it is an issue which impacts on public health, we must tackle it asap. He agreed. He then made various phone calls to Kiko and other councillors to arrange a meeting for our party, at Salvadores house tomorrow afternoon, at which each councillor can argue for his/her most pressing budgetary claim, prior to our meeting with PP. He also confirmed that people living in Cuesta de los Pinos should not be paying maintenance fees to New Horizons for the sewerage plant. I told him that no one would obviously be paying this year. I also said that should the TH install any replacement plant that requires maintenance most residents would happily pay a reasonable fee until Galasa can take it over and include in the water bills, if that helps in forward planing.

I then raised the issue of the road surface between Los Llanos and Avenida de Poetas at Los Llanos which is becoming seriously degraded. He said he was fully aware of the situation regarding this road and that it presented a small difficulty in that there is water running below the surface of this piece of road and it necessitates cutting the tarmac, digging down and infilling before relaying with tarmac. He has a gang working on resurfacing roads in the Zurgena area and, whilst he has no budget for this work, and has already committed the Town Hall to over 30,000 euros worth  of work, which has not been budgeted for, he is looking at getting this gang to attend to this road defect and a few others (including Calle Finlandia and Calle Irlanda), if he can in the next weeks. This gang, he hopes will attend to other roads which are suffering but it is more a question of how far we can stretch things

Candido asked me to ensure that people knew we (the TH of Zurgena) have not yet received a penny from the regional authorities towards the making good of all the damage from the storm of 28th September. We have been making progress only through good will of local constructors and the hopes of getting funding in the future.

I also made some progress regarding the problem raised by a resident in Los Llanos re a localised sewerage problem there which I will communicate directly and likewise on behalf of another resident who wished to carry out some work outside their property.

I did not push the issue of our street plans although they are nearly ready to start rolling out. I have quotes for the cases but not sure they are cheap enough, so will tackle that after easter.

I had another resident calling at the TH and asking for a form certifying "fuera de ordenacion". This has been alluded to before on the blog, as some estate agents, are asking for this before acting on a sale of a property. As I had been told before, basically this is not something which any councillor or Town Hall is going to issue as it would effectively guarantee that a property is not and could not be included in a Plan General as on urban or urbanisable land. In other words illegal! Neither of the councillors I have spoken to understand why or for what purpose an agent would be asking for this for as it would effectively block any potential sale and no official would sign such a document for fear of being guilty themselves. All properties in Zurgena are included in the PGOU which is and has been for some time being negotiated so it would also be a lie to state the asked for fact.

So I will attend our pre budget discussion meeting with my PA colleagues at Salvadores house tomorrow afternoon and make my feelings known about the budgetary priorities and once we have agreed them and taken them to our coalition partners for approval I will report back on here.

Finally please accept my apologies if you stop to speak to me in the mornings and I am less than chatty. When I am on my walk/jog, I usually run against the clock and sometimes I may be seconds out of beating my PB. and being a competitive animal I hate then spoiling my chances of a best time.  

Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday 15th March

Called in with my list today but, due to the fact that Candido had been in court all week, he had a queue of people waiting to see him. I arranged to speak with him next week (probably Tuesday or Wednesday).

Did ascertain the following, re the WiFi the engineer was supposed to attend yesterday (but hadn't!) Candido was ringing him to chase him up. Hope he attends before the weekend particularly for those around me as they have had no internet for over 2 weeks now. Anyone who wishes to claim a refund can do so by calling into the TH and informing them of their desire to do so.

Re the Court Case from last week they are still awaiting the result which will hopefully come next week. The case from this week has been adjourned to June. A rumour had started AGAIN that Candido was in prison as a result of this case, but, that is not the case.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tuesday 12th March

Asked if there was any update today on Candidos last court case (as I had not seen or heard anything since last wek) and it transpires that the judge has not yet ruled. The case is continuing but they expect a result probably tomorrow. Our solicitors seem hopeful but will have to wait and see.

I have flagged up the issue with the sewerage treatment plant which serves Cuesta de los Pinos and Sampo (councillor for Galasa) has undertaken to see what else we can do to speed up the works necessary to make this mess safe, at least! It is going to become a serious health issue of the Diputacion do not give us the funds or means by which to repair this plant.

Will attempt to meet with Candido, Thursday or Friday to discuss the other matters. Primarily the deteriorating roads of the area. Though I am not too hopeful.

The geologists have been asked to report again on the landslip, which we thought had been fixed, only for another large lump of hillside to slip again.


The programme of activities from the Diputacion includes a walk this Sunday 17th March. See the poster below for information. If you wish to go please pay the required fee at the Town Hall before the weekend.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Rambla Rally

The annual Baja Almanzora rally is coming through our area again this year. Could be more spectacular with the flood damaged areas!

Monday, March 4, 2013

WiFi Refunds

Following my complaint about the interruption to the WiFi for Cuesta de los Pinos the TH has agreed to refund anyone who wishes to claim for the interrupted time. To do so they would just need your bank account detail.

They are trying to get a more technically competent technician to sort the system but at this time it is not known how long that may take.

WiFi Cuesta de los Pinos & Fire Ex in Cars

Although I guess none of those affected will be abel to read this yet at least when they get reconnected they will know we have been trying to do something.

I had reports from lat Thursday of problems with the aerial NS2 288 which serves Cuesta de los Pinos. There has obviously been a problem with this repeater over the weekend. It was reported on Friday and the TH workers have been trying to locate the problem since. They are hopeful of resolving it today (Monday). IT  is now known that the aerial has been broken. It may have resulted from the storm last Thursday and they are trying to get someone who can repair or replace it.

Secondly I was asked about the law regarding carrying Fire extinguishers in cars, as a rumour was circulating that someone had been fined, for not having a fire extinguisher in their vehicle. I asked the Polizia Local and the law is that if the vehicle is a passenger car there is no requirement but if it is a mixed use vehicle eg a van or similar which is used to transport people and goods then a fire extinguisher should also be carried by law.