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Monday, June 29, 2015

Busy Busy.

Well our new administration is now formally in place and we have our specific roles. It seems that Luis Diaz Garcia (Alcalde) is determined to manage his councillors by allowing them to take responsibility for their own budgets and departments. Mine include the Police, Civil Protection, Emergency Planning, British Community, Integration and the 3rd Age. So I think I am going to have my hands full.

One area which I am trying to tackle first is our english speaking help desk. We now have in place two persons, Jose Manuel and Andreas. So we now have double the available bilingual speakers to assist our community. I will draw up a proper job description for Jose but basically what we want to achieve is a help desk which if not 100% available, then at least the vast majority of the time, to attend to you. For example if you wish to speak to someone in English you will have Andreas as first option, Jose as back up and me in emergencies! Additionally Jose has been tasked with organising and delivering the Spanish language lessons, which start with the registration etc this Wednesday.

As decisions are made I will communicate them through here.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Rubbish Disposal

Just lately I have received many complaints about the illegal dumping of rubbish including builders waste, dog excrement, packaging, and even glass into parts of the countryside.

It is illegal to dump such waste into the countryside and can be enforced and the perpetrators can be denounced and fined. The system for removing rubbish here, I think, is very efficient, the basuras have plenty of space in them for most reasonable disposals. If you have large items remember that they can be left b the sides of the asuras prior to the 12th and 27th of each month for removal.

So there is no real justification for spoiling the countryside. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

La Alfoquia Fiesta Spanish Classes update

Just advance warning that the La Alfoquia fiesta will be held on the weekend 16th to 19th July. There will be a foam party day on either Saturday or Sunday. I will publish the full agenda when it is agreed.

We have now had at least 20 applications. Jose will be at the village hall on Wednesday at 10.0am. The first day will be just to assess numbers and plan the best way forward and class sizes, dates and times to suit as many as possible etc. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Evening Walk

On Saturday 4th of July, Zurgena will host the provincial circuit of routes and trails 2015 DiputaciĆ³n, this year as a novelty, our path is in the category of trails of full moon, so that the time of Departure will be 19:00.
The meeting point will be the railway station, where you will get a brief explanation about the path that it is going to be taken, from there in cars, we will go up to the church of Llanos del Peral, from where we will begin the route (10 Km). To conclude, those who so wish, can enjoy a dinner at the the pool bar.

The registrations must be carried out on the website of diputaciĆ³n, by clicking on this link: 

From our city we encourage you to participate in this healthy activity!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Summer Library Hours

Due to having to spread the TH employees over more facilities during the summer months the library will only be open between 1000 x 1230 Monday Wednesday and Friday.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Election of Deputy for our area

Today the councillors from Zurgena attended at the Courts in Huercal Overa to vote for our representative for the Delegation in Almeria.

I went with Luis, Lola, Noelia, and Fran. I met most of the mayors of the Mancomunidad together with their councillors. There was only one candidate standing Juan Anthonio and his supplente was Paco from Albanchez.

We are to have a plan on Thursday evening at which we will all formally be given our roles for the coming period of administration. I will publish them when they have been formally accepted.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Learning Spanish (for free)

The new administration wishes to reinvigorate the language development of our english speaking residents (and to help some of our Spanish councillors to learn English) and to this end we are starting two new free programmes.

Firstly we are commencing Spanish language classes Wednesday 10am 1st July in Los Llanos del Peral village hall. These will be taken by Jose and initially last about 1.5 hours with an emphasis on basic conversation and language, not grammar.

Secondly we are looking to start intercambio meetings in various locations. This is, as many of you know, meeting together with Spanish speaking residents and having a coffee and spending time conversing in the others language. We want this to be a two way street so we would look to have an intercambio where the participants speak only Spanish one day and then on the next occasion speak only english. That way we hope to get interest from the Spanish community who wish to learn english as much as vice versa. These intercambios could be held in peoples homes or any of the Town Hall premises. In order to organise this in a constructive and productive way we need to know how my people would be interested in one or both options. 

If you think that you would like to participate in either the classes or the intercambio sessions (which may well include some members of our current council! as they are trying to improve their english) then we need to have you record your interest. You can do this in one of two ways. Firstly you can call into the Town Hall and register your interest with Jose in person by taking a copy of your NIE or passport or alternatively contact me by email and send or arrange to have dropped off at the Town Hall a copy of the said document. It would also help that, if you wanted to participate in the intercambio sessions where you would like these to be held and whether you would be willing to hold some of them in your own home.

If, for any reason, you cannot contact Jose or myself I will leave a supply of the forms we would like completing in the reception area of the Town Hall, which you can complete and leave for our attention.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Inauguration of Council for 2015-2019

Today saw the formal inauguration of the new Council for Zurgena (see photo below).

As in the past 2 occasions that I have been part of it it followed a similar process. Fortunately they know my limitations and Noelia took over as President allowing me to play a less prominent role!

All the new councillors swore their promises before the public audience and after that the secret ballot to elect our Mayor took place with the result being that which was expected, Luis as Mayor.

He then made a short speech promising to work hard with his councillors for the betterment of our villages. So now it is time to get down to hard work.

I discovered at the end of the meeting that a late decision had been made to go for a 4 course meal to Kalevala (€25 per head) but I (being an antisocial animal) declined. (Think Sue is fed up of the time I am already spending at the TH).

Thanks to David John for the image

Friday, June 12, 2015

Spanish Income Tax


For the information of all readers I spent a bit of time with tax advisors who are employed by the below named company.

I was asking advice, for my own benefit, as I had had so many conflicting stories about Income Tax rules for expats in Spain. I thought it may be worth sharing it.

She basically informed me that if a person was resident in Spain, for more than 6 months in the year, they should register at their local Spanish Tax Office as tax resident (for us in Huercal Overa) and declare all their income to the Spanish authorities. 

As my income comprises a Crown Pension, a state pension, a small other pension and a tiny bit of investment income she advised me that 
  1. A Crown Pension (CP) cannot be taxed in Spain and does not come into the calculation of total income for Spanish Taxation purposes.
  2. Other persons can be subject of Spanish Taxation but only where the total exceeds €11,200.
  3. I should register in Spain with the authorities as Spanish Tax resident but with the completion of a Form FD 9 and this will also inform the UK authorities of the correct taxation standing of my wife and I.
   d)   If you have other incomes, such as rental income, annuity income, bank interest or           investment income, capital gains or losses, you should contact a tax advisor to check if you have obligations to the Spanish Authorities to file tax returns. remembering that the deadline for submitting your tax returns in Spain is by the 30th June of the following year.

If I was non resident but owned a property in Spain I should register with the authorities as ´non resident´,  again by completion of the above form. If I fell into this category the Spanish Taxation authorities would charge me a tax on the Catastral Value of my Spanish property e.g. for a property which is valued at the Catastral Office at€78,000 the tax payable would be about  €212.
The deadline for submitting your non resident tax is 31st December of the following year.

I am posting this information on the blog to help anyone understand a bit better the process and basic rules as these have changed in the past 12 months and the Spanish authorities are being more thorough in checking that people are correctly registered for tax. There is as I understand a bit of an amnesty by the Spanish authorities until the 30th June for declaring pension incomes.

The company for whom my advisor above works is  Saga Negocios SL, Calle Del Mar 04650 Vera, telephone  950393176 fax 950393177 and her email is and I would recommend her for any help you may need. They will be moving to a new office from the 1st of September. Our new address will be Calle Del Mar, Pasaje Venus, Edif. Vegamar 1·6a de Vera (opposite current office)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Saturday 13th June

The inauguration of the new Council takes place this coming Saturday at 1200 in the Pleno room of the Town Hall. From that date the new councillors will take up their roles.

As part of the new and more in-depth anticorruption rules in Spain I have a nice and comprehensive form to fill in.This form requires me to declare all my worldly goods and thiss includes my house, my car my bank accounts, my savings, any other valuables and even down to the number of livestock I have!!

I also have to complete another form stating any reasons which may preclude me from serving by declaring any and all societies or institutions I may belong to. Guess NHW ill have to be declared then.

Whilst in the TH a lady who is looking to get work handed me her flyer which revealed her telephone number to be 673410597. All I know about her is that she is a local lady known to the staff in the Town Hall and that she is offering herself for services such as cleaning and ironing.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

13th June Inauguration

By Spanish law the construction of the Council should take place on Saturday 13th June in the Town Hall.

This is the meeting at which the relevant and responsible councillors will be identified and the council brought into being. In the meantime the normal everyday work of the council proceeds but no new initiatives are started until after then.

I have to add a reminder about Jose who is now full time in the Town Hall to attend to anyone all expat issues particularly those relevant to social or health. It is a case of use him or lose him. So if you need help with anything where a Spanish speaker can assist then please call in and see him. He spent many years in the USA where he was in a medical field and obviously is fluently bi lingual with many good contacts within the Spanish health system.