Almuñécar Bankrupt? (II)

Great heading, by the way, but God knows how I’m going to write an article to fit it, but here goes anyway…
After all the politicians had postured and proclaimed, the Town Hall staff finally made a public comment. A Workers’ committee for the Town Hall personnel gave a warning to the Mayor’s cabinet on the 24th and complained that there was a dearth of information from the cabinet. The committee qualified what had happened as a ‘lack of respect,’ on the part of the political masters.
The municipal treasury department assured the staff that within the seriousness of the economical situation there existed an ‘absolute priority’ to direct any monies received by the Town Hall to go directly towards their salaries. Thanks to this guarantee the committee has transmitted a message calling for calm, but should the salaries not be met, it would respond with all measures at its disposal within the bounds of legality.
But we are not talking about peanuts, because between salaries and social security payments the Town Hall has to find 800,000 euros each month to pay the 400-odd people who work there, which is surprising when you take into consideration that the population of Almuñécar doesn’t reach 25,000… Do your own calculations if you don’t trust mine but that works out at 32 euros a head.

But the heads of the two opposition parties, Francisco Prados (PSOE) and Trinidad Herrera, both agree that the suspension-of-payments announcement was little more than a political strategy on behalf of the Mayor.
The cause of the suspension of payments, according to the Mayor, was the decision of a judge to suspend the new arrangement for municipal tax collection: it had been carried out by the provincial authorities in Granada (APAT) thanks to an agreement signed by both parties, which worked for around ten years. But in a Town Council Meeting it was announced that Almuñécar would be collecting its own taxes, using the services of private companies and had dispensed with the previous arrangement – a decision that caused a certain amount of speculation and controversy as to the reasons behind it.
The affair went before the judge after the Junta de Andalucía asked for the new arrangement to be annulled. The judge in question pointed out that the Municipal Secretary and Treasurer are public posts, which are entrusted with the accountability of the Town Hall; its incomings and outgoings. For that reason tax collection cannot be turned over to a private company (or a temporary union of companies, in Almuñécar’s case).
But it wasn’t only the Junta that denounced the new arrangement, but also the workers union CGT, which denounced the privatization of the system.
Going back further, to last summer, the Mayor warned the provincial tax-collection authorities that it would not extend the arrangement that was due to expire, if they did not reinstate the Head of the Almuñécar branch of the tax collection offices, who had failed his promotion exams that were needed to stay in office. The man in question is a member of the PP, by the way, which explains, why the PP backed the Mayor in breaking with Granada.
The ‘cause’ then is the freeze ordered by the law courts and the consequence is the suspension of payments. But there is a lot more to add, which I will have to continue in the Almuñécar section…

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