Tag: Town hall

May Fair irregular payments investigated

The organisation ‘La Casa de Andalucía’ has admitted that it allocated eight of
the 28 plots assigned during for the May Fair by mutual agreement. Now the
town hall has opened an enquiry into the irregular arrangements made during
the contracting of the May Fair or Feria de Sevillanas 2018.
It is being alleged that La Casa de Anadalucía Rafael Alberti collected eight
200 euro sums to reserve the plots where the marquees would be installed for
the festival this year. Altogether there were 28 plots available.
It is also being claimed that the money was used to provide services in the
days running up to the fair including the emptying of septic tanks and renting
the generators to provide the electricity during the event. The payments were
made in cash and were outside the terms and conditions of the official
The May Fair attracted thousands of visitors during its five days duration and
is organised by the town hall who contract a third party to administer it. The
council do not have sufficient resources of their own to organise the detail
around the festivities. In 2016 this job was taken over by the La Casa de
Anadalucía Rafael Alberti but in 2017 and 2018 the contract was awarded to
another organiser who acted in collaboration with the Casa de Andalucía.
The contract for organising the fair this year came to 113,000 euros and those
given the contract have assured the newspaper ‘informacion’ that there was
no authorisation given to Casa de Andalucía to perform this kind of
management task. The allegation continues that the money was paid to
reserve the plots in a way that breaches contract conditions.
The town council has now asked the contractor for a list of data of all the
marquees on the site during the fair and the type of contractual arrangement
that was agreed. They have also asked for details of the exact arrangements
for assigning the plots of land for the marquees.

Hope for the municipal theatre?

The mayor of Torrevieja, José Manuel Dolón, has asked for authorisation from
the official school of architects to sign the ‘end of work’ certificate for el teatro
municipal. This is the certificate which is required before the opening
certificate or ‘licencia de apertura’ can be obtained.
The mayor explained that during the time that the theatre has been closed the
technicians have been working on the project to ensure that it can open with
all the necessary licences that it must have. ‘We haven’t been sleeping,’ he
explains. ‘But we had to do what was required. We didn’t want the theatre to
be closed either.’
The town hall has now told Acciona, to move ahead as quickly as possibly
with obtaining the opening licence. Finally it looks as though we are nearly at
the point where the town could see the reopening of its much-needed theatre.
Even when all the licences are obtained, it won’t just be the case of the
theatre immediately opening its doors. It has been closed for a while now and
will require a lick of paint and a deep clean to ensure that it is ready to
welcome the public.

Cabo Roig clean-up

The local council will this week give a deep clean to the public footpaths all along the Cabo Roig Strip. Also
much needed small waste bins will be installed and provision will be made to empty them regularly. Extra larger
bins for waste and recycling will be brought from Orihuela to help cope with the huge increase of waste
generated during the busy summer tourist season on the coast. These decisions were made at a meeting organised
by Pedro Mancebo of the Orihuela Chamber of Commerce between Damaso Aparicio local councillor for street
cleaning and waste collection and members of the “Cabo Roig Strip Business Association” and “O.C. Avanza
Business and Entrepreneurs Association”.
The urgent meeting was held to discuss different issues affecting businesses in Orihuela-Costa especially
following warnings by the local police that glass and bottles could only be placed in bins up to 10pm. This new
rule would have caused great difficulties for bars and restaurants because of the sheer volume of waste that
would need to be stored inside the bars and restaurants for long periods of time causing safety, health and other
risks and maybe even fines from the health department. During the meeting the town hall representatives assured
the business owners that the town hall concerns were about kitchen waste and domestic rubbish only being
placed in the bins between 9pm and midnight.
The town hall made it clear that all recyclable materials such as glass and paper could be placed in the recycle
containers at any time of day. In return the business owners said that they would dispose of glass and other waste
in an effective and quiet manner to minimize the noise for neighbours. Damaso Aparicio and the waste collection
manager for the area also highlighted the need for a deep cleaning in the whole of the Cabo Roig area, especially
on “The Strip” where thousands of tourists and residents walk every day. The image of this area concerns the
business owners as they endeavour to keep the area tidy. The town hall has promised to increase its efforts to
keep the area property maintained.
A campaign of deep cleaning of footpaths will occur every Monday and Friday until the end of the summer
season. On behalf of the Chamber of Commerce, Pedro Mancebo pointed out that there are many other business
areas in Orihuela Costa that need more attention from the Town Hall and he obtained the commitment from the
councillor to address the problems everywhere. Future meetings will be held with business owners in different
areas of Orihuela-Costa.
Also discussed were the illegal street traders who place their wares wherever they like, whereas the legal
businesses are limited to certain small spaces that they need to pay the town hall for, in addition to all the other
taxes that they pay. According to the Chamber of Commerce these hundreds of illegal traders do not have
permission to trade in the streets, they don’t have proper invoices for their goods and don’t pay any taxes or
social security and they unfairly damage legal businesses and traders from the Thursday and Saturday Markets.

Arts, crafts and fun in Aspe

Every year the small town of Aspe holds a fair at the beginning of September.  This
year the Town Hall has decided to make it a real Craft Fair, with demonstrations of
old crafts, workshops for children and lots of entertainment, from cabezudos (people
walking in the street wearing gigantic papier-mache heads) and music at the official
opening, to puppet shows, stilt walkers and in the evenings fire jugglers.
The fair will be held in the lovely Plaza Mayor, on 2nd and 3rd September, in the
shade of enormous trees and a setting of old buildings and beautiful arches. Around
twenty craftsmen and women will not only set up shop to sell their work, but will
actually be at work in the fair to show the love and attention they give to each item
they make. For the younger visitor there will be lots of activities: a small Ferris wheel,
workshops, old fashioned games and competitions.
A local potter and several lace makers will participate and Amata, the craft
association organising the market, will contribute demonstrations of weaving on an
Iberian loom, book binding and making recycled paper.
The stalls offer an array of unique gifts from ceramics and pottery, beautifully hand-
made felt bags, soft toys, funny hats, leather belts made to measure and much
more.  There will be several stalls with designer jewellery in alpaca, macramé,
porcelain, ceramics and paper.
The fair opens on Saturday 2nd of September at 11 o'clock with music and
cabezudos; opening times, both Saturday and Sunday, will be from 11 am till 2 pm
and then again from 5pm till 10pm. Aspe is a small town 8 kms from Elche and can
be reached easily from both from the A7 and the A31 motorway.
For more information in English call 639 979 678 or visit www.amata.es/sp_foto.html
where you can have a look at photographs of other fairs organised by Amata.

Your SIP Card

Many expats living in Spain have SIP cards and are entitled to free medical treatment and medicines at
drastically reduced prices. The Spanish medical system is first class and rated as one of the best in the world and
many expats owe their lives to the treatment they have received. There is a direct link between SIP cards, the
padrón and NIE numbers. Central government has now decided that expats who received medical treatment but
whose padrón is out of date will be invoiced for that medical treatment.
Sofia Alvarez, councillor for foreign residents explained at a recent meeting with community leaders that by law
EU citizens must renew the padrón (census) every 5 years and non-EU citizens every 2 years. In order to register
on the padron simply go to the padrón office in the Playa Flamenca town hall with an hour to spare and take a
ticket. You will need your passport or identity card and something to prove that you are still living at your
address, for example a suma, electricity or water bill and your padrón will be renewed, and this automatically
renews your NIE as well.
Every October our local Town Hall has to send the padrón list to the central statistics office (INI) in Madrid. The
Town Hall gets paid based on the number of people on the padrón. Sofia Alvarez pointed out that greater
numbers on the padrón mean greater services directly in this community. Each year the INI send approximately
5,000 names back to Orihuela Town Hall with instructions to send the local police door-to- door to establish that
each of those names actually live at the addresses specified. If the property looks deserted, if nobody is home or
a neighbour says that the named person does not live there then that person will be removed from the padrón.
Normally the names checked are the ones that have not been recently renewed.
Many people, who do not want to be tax resident outside their home country assume that signing on the census
(padrón) requires them to become a tax resident. This is not correct. Once you are on the census for three months
you are required to become a resident (Residencia) but this is not the same as a tax or fiscal resident.
Although you can obtain a SIP card once you have signed on the padrón, the SIP card is technically only valid
for three months until you obtain “Residencia”. This is why a SIP card can be cancelled if the padrón is not
Besides health care, other benefits of being “in the system” include the right to vote in local and European
elections and also there are large inheritance tax discounts available to residents. On the subject of Brexit, Sofia
Alvarez expressed the opinion that British owners of Spanish property who are properly registered on the padrón
will get preferential treatment over those who are not. So don’t delay, register or renew today.

Allegations of corruption

The mayor of Torrevieja, José Manuel Dolón, has asked that contracts linked to previous tourism fairs be investigated for improper allocation and processes. The same business organisations were given the contracts between 2005 and 2011 across Alicante province and in Orihuela.
TurismoFitur was a campaign during this period to promote tourism in Spain. Torrevieja town hall contracted stands at the tourism fair and this is now being investigated for impropriety. The mayor said: ‘If there is a crime here we will demand that those responsible are brought to justice.’
Torrevieja paid out  €1,207,408.65 to the same company that is now being investigated in Alicante. It is believed that the proper contracting procedure was not applied. During the years 2005, 2006 and 2007 this would have been under the jurisdiction of Pedro Hernández Mateo (PP) who has already been convicted of corruption.
The tourism fairs were held in Madrid, Valencia and Bilbao and huge profits were made from them. The same company, Equipamiento Integral para Stand Molinos, received the contracts but there was no one else who appeared to be offered the opportunity to bid and there was no publicity surrounding their appointment.
In 2010 and 2011, the process of allocating the contract was modified and at least three companies were invited to bid. However, it is alleged that there was insufficient time for them to apply and ultimately only one company was able to put forward their proposal in time. The information is due to be presented to the Public prosecutor’s Office.
Suzanne O’Connell

If children governed the town…

Torrevieja has now been an independent ‘ciudad’ for 86 years. As part of its celebrations the town hall invited in 26 children who had opportunity to debate on some important matters.One of these being the adoption of different models of language learning throughout the town.
The children came from four schools in the town, CEIP Las Culturas, CEIP Salvador Ruso, CEIP Ciudad del Mar and CMT La Purísima. The children took on the role of councillors and participated in a pleno voting on twelve motions to improve the town. All the motions were passed although two with a smaller majority.
This is the second year that this has taken place and it is particularly fitting that it should take place on the anniversary of the naming of Torrevieja as a town on 4th February 1931. The mayor complemented the children on their level of democratic participation and the work that had been done previously at their schools.
One of the most debated motions was that surrounding the balance of languages to be taught in Torrevieja’s schools. This motion was put forward by PIPAS (Plataforma Intercultural por el Avance Social) the name given to the group from Las Culturas.
Other recurring themes included the level of culture, sport and education offered in the town, the need for green areas and street cleaning and the need to make the town more friendly for those with disabilities. Where necessary, the mayor has explained the background to some of the issues. However both the mayor and some othersabstained from voting when it came to the balance of languages within the schools.
Suzanne O’Connell

The big cleanup

Cleaning up after the rain

Following the torrential downpours of the weekend of the 17th and 18th December, the mayor of Torrevieja, José Manuel Dolón, held a press conference with the councillor for safety, Javier Manzanares, to thank all those services and individuals who contributed to addressing the crisis. He also thanked the town’s people who responded well to advice.
The town council had taken the decision to close the schools in order to avoid possible disruption or injury with streets full of water, fallen branches and trees, roads closed and limited access to the town centre. Other disruption was caused due to the flooding of the beaches and the washing away of sand.
Councillor Manzanares thanked the local police and the efforts of the civil protection volunteers who had thirty people available for 72 hours and who were responsible for pumping out excess water, moving items blown out into the street and clearing channels to ensure that water could be released more quickly.
Councillor Manzanares confirmed that all roads were open from the 19th December and the nine people who were evacuated from their four properties on calle Urbano Arregui and Ramón Ruibal and moved to a hotel were back in their own homes.
Over the course of the weekend the Guardia Civil assisted with the evacuation of houses, attended the site of three collapsed structures, rescued five people who were trapped in two vehicles and attended a fire caused by a short circuit. Fire engines were called out to attend to 43 incidents on roads and property.
Manzanares added that everyone responded; ‘well and in a coordinated manner. We have learnt a lot.’ The weekend of flooding also drew attention to the lack of suitability of the proposed site of Villa Amalia for Amanecer school as the area experienced a lot of flooding. ‘We have to take into account that the area is below ground level,’ explained councillor Manzanares, who added that the site would also be affected by any increase in width of the N332.
The council in Torrevieja also met with Agamed to discuss the problems that occurred and how they might be avoided another time. Altogether a total of 150 litres of rain was registered and Agamed were praised for the situation in Torrevieja not having led to more disruption and destruction. The areas worst affected included la avenida Cortes Valencianas and the Torreta Florida area where a pump was broken. The meeting was also an opportunity to discuss the water company’s working practices.
Suzanne O’Connell

Access to the sea for the disabled

Beach access for all
Access to the sea for the disabled

Los Náufragos, Los Locos and El Cura beaches will in future have platforms from which the disabled will be able to enter the water. Torrevieja town hall is keen to make its beaches disabled friendly and now has received the go ahead from the Valencian government to install a platform that will extend into the water and enable people using wheelchairs to enter the water. The new structures will be installed in the coming weeks and will remain in place throughout the year.
Councillor for beaches, Javier Manzanares, explained that the footbridges will be positioned next to the lifeguard stations on the three beaches. It is anticipated that the new structures will be ready to use by Easter. It was decided to install them now to prevent any difficulties in the assembly task during the run up to the summer season.
The platforms are not permanent structures and can be dismantled, but it is expected that they can continue to be used for the next four years. They have been tested for strength using heavy vehicles to make sure they will not break when cleaning trucks travel over them. Over the first year the company installing them will help to maintain them and later it is expected that whoever is successful in winning the contract to keep the beaches clean will be responsible for their maintenance too.
Suzanne O’Connell

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