News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
News Archive In association with
Nerja to reintroduce local rubbish tax
The new tax will be introduced in 2013 and will bring around 540,000 euros into the council coffers
By Dave Jamieson
NERJA is to reintroduce the local tax for collecting domestic rubbish. Since 1992, this has been included in the IBI tax but the town hall has decided to revive it an effort to generate cash and help bring down municipal debt which reached 4.8 million euros at the end of 2011.
Finance councillor Antonio Villasclaras said that there was "no choice" but to reintroduce the charge. He said it which would demonstrate to the Ministry of Finance that the town was generating new sources of income to balance its public services costs. The councillor pointed out that rubbish collection and disposal costs Nerja town hall 1.6 million euros annually which is not compensated for by any direct income.
The rate to be charged in Nerja will be three euros per month per household, which, Sr Villasclaras claimed, is considerably less than is charged by other towns in the area. He alleged this varied from 12 euros a month in Torrox to as much as 16 euros monthly in Almuñécar.
Nerja's parking puzzle
Confusion reigns amongst car owners this week as conflicting stories emerged about the town's biggest outdoor car park
By Dave Jamieson
SEASON ticket holders using the central Los Huertos parking area were initially told that monthly passes had been suspended over the summer, but were later advised that this was untrue. The open air car park near the Balcón de Europa holds about 1,000 vehicles, and, until a few years ago, parking was free of charge.
The area was widely used by motorists suffering from Nerja's chronic lack of on-street town centre parking, and, while there are plans for 400 houses and possibly a new town hall on the site one day, councillors decided to allow it to be taken over by a private company as a pay car park in the meantime.
Residents living nearby could park for a little over 20 euros a month, while those from further away paid around ten euros more.
However, press reports last week indicated that this policy had been suspended from April 1 to October 31, leaving those who had bought an annual ticket being the only season ticket holders able to park without extra payment. Casual users pay up to 1.80 euros an hour to leave their vehicles at Los Huertos.
When the reports emerged last week, the councillor responsible, Inocencia Quintero, said she was not in absolute accord with the policy adopted for the peak summer months by the car park operator and that she would ask them to reconsider.
Early tax refunds already on the way
Tax office website crashes during first days as thousands race to file online returns
By Oliver McIntyre
THE TAX office began making refund payments to taxpayers last week within 48 hours of the first 2011 income tax returns being filed online when the period for doing so opened on Tuesday.
The tax office's website (agenciatributaria.es) was so swamped with requests for ‘borrador' pre-prepared returns in the first couple of days that the site was nearly impossible for many taxpayers to access. By noon the first day more than 50,000 online borrador requests had been made and more than 13,000 taxpayers had already submitted their approval of the borrador in order to receive a speedy refund.
The director general of the tax office, Beatriz Viana, stated that "those who confirm their borrador this month will be able to receive their refund in rapid fashion".
In-person assistance at Agencia Tributaria offices does not start until May 3 but phone assistance and online requests and confirmations of borrador forms and fiscal data launched last week.
The tax office expects to receive a total of 19,115,000 tax returns this year, 70 per cent of which will result in a refund for the taxpayer. The total amount to be paid out in refunds is estimated at nearly 11 billion euros, down 1.21 per cent from last year, while the returns resulting in a payment owed to the tax office will total 6.31 billion euros, down 0.79 per cent from last year. The 2011 campaign will thus result in a net payout of 4.65 billion euros from the state coffers.
Council taxes can be paid in eleven instalments
The measure is not applicable in Málaga city, Fuengirola, Torremolinos, Benalmádena and Alhaurín el Grande
By Oliver McIntyre
SOME 900,000 residents of Málaga province are to be allowed to break their council tax and fee payments into a maximum of 11 monthly instalments based on a new plan announced last week by the Diputación de Málaga.
The Diputación, through its Patronato de Recaudación Provincial (PRP), collects the municipal taxes and fees for 96 of the towns in Málaga province - all except for Málaga city, Fuengirola, Torremolinos, Benalmádena and Alhaurín el Grande.
Previously the PRP allowed a much more limited instalment plan, which the ratepayer had to sign up for by December 31 of the previous year.
Under the new scheme the instalment plan can be signed up for during the corresponding tax/fee year. All of the municipal taxes and fees collected by the Diputación - nearly 50 in all - can be combined into a single bill and be paid in instalments from January to November, based on the payment programme selected by the individual ratepayer.
The new plan also creates greater flexibility for paying off outstanding taxes and fees from previous years.
New ambulance row in Mijas
This latest complaint comes after a local man previously claimed his wife died waiting for help
By Oliver McIntyre
MIJAS town hall last week publicly denounced that the local police "had to evacuate a hiker who was injured in the head and one leg, given the slow response of the 061 emergency service". The emergency service denied undue delay, saying the call was handled based on an assessment of the seriousness of the person's injuries.
Town hall officials said officers were the first emergency responders to reach the 68-year-old Dutch hiker after he fell and injured himself while walking in the Cerro del Moro zone of the sierra. They said the officers called 061 to seek medical assistance but were told a 061 ambulance was not available, but another vehicle would be sent. "However, due to the long delay in the arrival of the medics, the local police officers decide to take the hiker in their patrol car to the Mijas Pueblo health centre," they said.
However, the 061 service said the emergency call, which was recorded, indicated that the patient was conscious, with a bump on a knee and on the forehead and was going to be accompanied on foot to a more accessible zone.
"Given this information, established protocol was followed for accidents of this gravity," it said, noting that all emergency calls are handled based on an assessment of the symptoms described in the call, which in this case were considered relatively minor.
Expats among victims whose money was invested by banks in worthless ‘preferential shares'By James Parkes & Alex Watkins
HUNDREDS of expats are among thousands of bank customers who were persuaded by savings banks such as the CAM (Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo) to invest their lifetime savings in financial products which have lost their value.
Costa del Sol News and its sister newspapers have received many phone calls from concerned residents who feel they were misled and are now suffering financially and mentally from the loss of this money.
Many do not wish to have their names printed as they fear reprisals from the bank.
They include one regular reader, a British woman in her 70s, who has seen her savings trapped in CAM bonds.
As with many others - not only at CAM but also at other banks or savings banks - she discovered that her savings deposit had been invested in so-called preferential shares - an investment she insists she never authorised. She told CDSN's sister paper Costa Blanca News: "I am appalled at how the CAM has treated me."
She also told of another customer who has returned to the UK, but has his life savings totalling over 75,000 euros 'hijacked' in preferential CAM shares.
Another reader, Marit Main, explained he is 61 years old and "supposed to be enjoying my life".
"As I am disabled and restricted in what I can do, my savings make my life a little bit easier - or were supposed to," he said.
Unexploded war bomb found in MijasThe potentially dangerous projectile was found in a construction skip in the Entrerríos zone
By Oliver McIntyre
A MIJAS man scavenging for scrap metal last week discovered what is believed to be an unexploded bomb from the Spanish civil war.
Juan Francisco Calzado found the 40cm-long projectile on Wednesday while searching for scrap metal in a construction rubble container in the Entrerríos zone, said town hall officials.
He took it along with the rest of his finds to a scrap yard, where they advised him of the potential danger of the bomb, which he then took home and put in a tool shed before calling the town hall.
The municipal advisor for rural zones, Francisco Jiménez, who went to the home and transported the bomb in his car to a nearby open space as a precaution until the Guardia Civil bomb squad arrived.
Legal action and sackings in Iberia dispute
Pilots say they will continue to strike every Monday and Friday until July 20
By Dave Jamieson
THE ROW between Iberia and its staff has escalated with the news that the airline has started legal action against two trades unions. The airline has also sacked two its pilots claiming they had, "failed to meet their employment obligations."
The dispute over the launch last month of a new budget carrier, Iberia Express, is set to reach the courts. Both the pilots' union Sepla, and a smaller union Stavia which represents around a third of Iberia's cabin crews, have been targeted by Iberia which says it loses some three million euros on each strike day. The airline's action, lodged with the High Court last week, claims that the work stoppages are illegal and are causing serious damage to the business.
It alleges Iberia's freedom under the Constitution is being obstructed through the strikes which began in December, and are presently continuing every Monday and Friday until July 20. Iberia describes them as abusive as they coincide with a number of public holidays and the start of the summer tourist season, and is also demanding damages from the unions for losses incurred by previous strikes.
Iberia said that the sackings of two staff last Wednesday followed the pilots' refusal to fly their scheduled routes without giving any good reason. In a statement, Iberia said, "The pilots' behaviour goes against what is outlined in the Workers' Statute and the company's own collective bargaining agreements.
Nun charged in baby-sale enquiry
By Dave Jamieson
This is the first official enquiry into an alleged practice which it is claimed took place in hospitals across Spain from the 1940s until as recently as 20 years ago
A NUN has been provisionally charged with the kidnap of a baby in 1982 and the falsification of documents related to the child. Sister María Gómez Valbuena was handed the summons by a Madrid judge last week.
The girl is now 29 years old, and six months ago managed to find out the identity of her biological mother, María Luisa Torres. The two were reunited and last week appeared in court to give evidence against Sister Maria. Their testimony is reported to have left the courtroom in tears.
Sra Torres told the judge that Sister Maria, who is now 80 years old, stole the newly born baby and sold her to another family. Her daughter, Pilar, said that the nun had done a lot of harm to a lot of families, adding, "If she isn't put in jail or punished, then she will be punished in another life."
This is the first official enquiry into an alleged practice which it is claimed took place in public hospitals across Spain from the 1940s until as recently as 20 years ago. Scores of complaints have now been received from parents who say that they were told their newly born children had died, when in fact, they had been given or sold to childless families to adopt.