Local Daily News 4th May
The plenary session says no to the tourist tax in Elche
The plenary session of Elche has said no to the tourist tax with the votes against Compromís. The PSOE has voted with the opposition on a proposal by Vox and amended by the PP to reject this measure approved by the Generalitat that the municipalities may voluntarily implement. The three groups that make up the government of the Botànic, PSPV-PSOE, Compromís and Unides Podem, registered in the Cortes, in the middle of Easter, the bill to create the tax that will be levied on tourist stays.
The socialists of Elche, in the hands of the mayor of Tourism, Carles Molina, have justified that it is necessary “to wait for the economic recovery to be consolidated” and assured that the mayor, Carlos González, has sent letters to different associations in the city supporting the position of the tourism sector. “Our position is that this is not the time for it,” he defended. The position of the PSOE has collided with that of its government partners, who have been left alone in this. Compromís has defended the tourist tax due to the increase in visitors to the city to pre-pandemic levels. Its spokesperson, Esther Díez, has defended it so that the people of Elche “do not have to carry the burden of financing the resources used by tourists when they come to Elche”. Díez has calculated that it would be necessary to pay two euros per person per day in five-star accommodation and has expressed concern that the Socialists vote in favor of a motion that Vox defends and “against an agreement reached by its parliamentary group and mine in defense of sustainable tourism”.
Vox has branded as “unfair, inappropriate and total political imprudence” this fee that visitors should pay from next year when they come to Elche and have agreed with the PP that the law be eliminated because “the municipality has to grow, without putting obstacles in the way of tourism and businessmen, much more,” said Aurora Rodil.
For its part, the PP has quantified that a family of four could spend more than 100 euros on the weekend in Elche with the tourist tax. “Do you think that for two euros the regional secretary shouts to the heavens and says that he is leaving?” asked the popular councilor Juan de Dios Navarro to Compromís, in addition to recognizing the “courageous” position of the Socialists.
The socialists have carried out, with the support of Compromís and against PP, Vox and Ciudadanos, a motion to urge the president of the Diputación de Alicante, Carlos Mazón, to withdraw the appeal of unconstitutionality that he has raised to the Law of the Municipal Cooperation Fund. His proposal has also included requiring the Alicante Provincial Council to transfer the Elche City Council the outstanding financial amounts of the last five years in which the Municipal Cooperation Fund has not participated and which amounts to 4.1 million euros. They have also asked the Alicante Provincial Council to reconsider its position and join the Municipal Cooperation Fund this year and for 2023, participating with the 13.7 million euros that complement it.
“What is the problem in asking Carlos Mazón to join the cooperation fund?” asked the socialist spokesman, Héctor Díez, to the PP, who added that “after this they will not be able to tell us much about what we are demanding in Valencia”. The representative of the PSOE has demanded that the draft of the Palace of Congresses go out to tender now, he has asked the PP to urge it to the Diputación and has told them that they are “sticking the rice”.
Waits of up to 18 months to obtain the assessment of the degree of disability
He who waits, despairs. And if not, tell it to those who in the province of Alicante need an official assessment of their degree of disability in order to be eligible for aid, such as access to employment, tax rebates, housing adaptation or parking cards.
A procedure that in the province of Alicante accumulates delays of between 15 and 18 months. This has been denounced this Tuesday by the Cocemfe association with a claim action at the gates of the Alicante Disability Assessment and Guidance Center, known as the base center, dependent on the Ministry of Equality. About a hundred people have formed a long queue at the doors of this service, in which applications from all over the province are centralized, to request changes that make the system more agile to request the assessment of the degree of disability.
Antonio Ruescas, president of Concemfe, recalls that the Generalitat’s own regulations establish a maximum time of three months to resolve the evaluations. In addition, delays have increased in recent months for various reasons. “To make an assessment of the degree of disability, the presence of a doctor is essential and, as they have explained to us, they have problems finding and keeping professionals, because as soon as they get a job contract in a hospital they leave,” explains Ruescas .
Also, for a few months, the procedures to obtain the valuation have to be carried out through the PROP. “It’s something that only happens in the province of Alicante and that involves one more procedure that ultimately delays the process to obtain the valuation.” In addition, the fact that before the procedures could be carried out directly at the assessment center “allowed people to come to ask how their file was going and obtain some information, something that is no longer possible now because everything is done through the PROP”. In this sense, Cocemfe calls for more transparency and for Equality to enable information numbers so that those affected can know at what point in the process their case is.
People from all over the province of Alicante have participated in the protest this Tuesday. During their interventions they have denounced that not receiving an assessment or a review of the degree of disability in time harms people with disabilities in employment, education, accessibility, health and also prevents them from accessing benefits that compensate for inequality of opportunities. In the most serious cases, they denounce, there are people who have died before having the resolution and have had to wait for that entire time without receiving support at the time they needed it most.
In the protest this Tuesday was Andrés Molina, from the AMFI association, which manages a special employment center and is fully affected by the delays of the administration. “If the assessment of the degree of disability people cannot work, so in the end opportunities are lost.”
Juan Enrique Sánchez also went on to claim “that we all have the same rights and yet it seems that we are different despite the fact that we make the same efforts as the rest”.
Among those affected was also Raquel Gómez, mother of a 19-month-old girl who suffers from kidney disease and who has been waiting for an assessment for a year “without us knowing anything yet.” With the protest this Tuesday, Gómez hopes that organic disability will also be given visibility.
Apart from requesting that the waiting times for an assessment be shortened, with its vindictive action, Cocemfe also demands that the new disability scale be applied that will update the current one that dates from 1999 and that has become totally obsolete. “The new scale, in addition to the medical and rehabilitation part, also takes into account the autonomy of people and their social characteristics,” explains Antonio Ruescas.
Although the new scale is not ideal, because it does not provide certainty about its deployment and does not indicate what elements it will incorporate in the face of long delays in assessing and reviewing the degree of disability and in the face of insufficient resources in the services, which makes it difficult and conditions the implementation, “it is necessary that it be put into operation because it incorporates improvements for the recognition of situations linked to organic disability, such as fatigue or pain, rheumatological diseases or diseases that occur with an outbreak”.
This Tuesday’s action is part of the national campaign #EsperaYDesespera of Cocemfe, which has simultaneously added a total of 18 lines in front of public buildings throughout Spain to protest against this desperate wait and against the impact it causes in the exercise of the rights of thousands of people.
The bipartisan launches the new "contract of the century": 347 million for eight years of street cleaning and waste collection
The Governing Board of the Alicante City Council has approved this Tuesday the tender for the new “contract of the century”, the one related to street cleaning and waste collection, with a base budget of 347 million euros and a duration of eight years, without extensions. In other words, the Alicante City Council plans to spend a maximum of 43.5 million euros per year on a contract that currently includes waste treatment but does not collect organic waste, according to the Councilor for Cleaning, Manuel Villar.
The ongoing contract began on September 1st, 2013, during the government of Sonia Castedo, and ended on August 31st, 2021, with the possibility of two successive extensions, each lasting two years, the first of which was approved by the Local Government Board on August 17, 2021, despite the fact that all the candidates for Mayor of Alicante, during the last electoral campaign of May 2019, refused to extend the contract.
The next contract will mean, according to the mayor, an increase of approximately 25% in spending compared to the same services included in the current contract, in the hands of UTE Alicante, formed by FCC, Ferrovial and Cívica, owned by Enrique Ortiz. Councilman Villar has highlighted that this tender promotes the renewal of the municipal “largest contract”. “The city has grown in population and in new urbanized areas, we have to continue improving the cleanliness of our neighborhoods and districts, maintain well-kept beaches with a high quality standard and take care of relevant tourist spaces such as the island of Tabarca, which to demand greater efforts, endowments and modernization in this transition towards a more sustainable and habitable city that marks the objectives of the Alicante 2030 Urban Agenda”, Villar underlined.
The future contract, which Villar hopes will be awarded before the end of this year 2022, will include the collection services for municipal waste generated in the municipality of Alicante and its transfer to the treatment plant, eco-park or authorized manager, cleaning, maintenance, supply and placement of the containers, the management of the individual and community composting programs and the corresponding environmental education actions.
It also includes the cleaning of public spaces, including the sandy beaches, coves and the island of Tabarca, as well as municipal forests, clearing and cleaning of public channels that run through urban areas, as well as roads and rural roads, municipal solar, waste removal and cleaning of uncontrolled discharges on public roads and municipal land, cleaning work after meteorological phenomena and other work related to cleaning and the removal of waste in the urban environment.
The new contract, according to the municipal government, will promote selective collection to meet the demands of regional, national and European regulations, as well as awareness-raising work to move towards achieving a circular economy, aimed at reusing and reducing waste. the generation of rejected waste that finally ends up in landfills.
It will also increase the number of operators by around 120, especially street sweepers, as specified by the mayor, in addition to granting a higher score to companies that commit to renewing machinery. In the operation, the manual neighborhood of streets and squares will be promoted, which is where most of the new workers will go, as well as the washing operations that will practically double, as the mayor has added. The mechanical district of the main avenues, sidewalks and large pedestrian spaces will also be reinforced, as explained by the City Council.
Among the improvements introduced by the contract in terms of waste collection, the expansion to the entire city of the selective collection of the brown container for organic waste stands out, as well as the setting up of twelve new public community composting points and collections of pruning waste and agriculture in rural areas, the implementation of telematically controlled electromechanical closing systems in the rest fraction containers and the implementation of new litter bins and replacement of existing ones.
The mayor, Luis Barcala, through his profile on social networks, has also wanted to assess the tender for the contract of the century. “I am aware that Alicante is not as clean as it should be. A part corresponds to each one of us and another, of course, to the municipal service, which we must reinforce. Today I bring you good news and that is that we have put out to tender the new cleaning contract, which will significantly improve the service and will be adjusted to current needs. Among other improvements, we will double the flushing in all neighborhoods and reinforce the manual sweeping of our streets. We will count at least 100 more workers to improve the service”, Barcala has pointed out on social networks.
Asaja will denounce the State for the damage caused by the cut in the Tajo-Segura transfer
Asaja Alicante has harshly criticized the Government’s decision to cut the flow transferred to Alicante, Murcia and Almería by 40%, and has announced that it will denounce the State for the economic and social damage caused by the suppression of 108 hm3 of flow.
In addition, the agrarian organization has asked that in the next elections “political forces that do not act deliberately against the economic and social development of the peninsular southeast” be voted on, said its president, José Vicente Andreu, who has also made an appeal President Ximo Puig to be more dynamic and request an urgent meeting in Madrid with the Ministry of Ecological Transition “in order to avoid the increase in ecological flows and the death sentence for our garden”.
In Andreu’s opinion, “it is the beginning of a new water war initiated by the Government against the Spanish Levant, when what there should be is dialogue and understanding.”
After the confirmation of the cut of the Tajo-Segura transfer, Asaja Alicante has loaded “all its socioeconomic and political weight against the party that has planned, executed and made profitable the death of an infrastructure that has fed and brought water to millions of people since 43 years ago.” For this reason, he has asked “the society of Alicante, Almería and Murcia to know who is to blame for their ruin and to punish him at the polls by voting for other political options.”
In this sense, the organization has stressed that “the PSOE will be solely responsible for the disappearance of 5,000 jobs and the 27,000 hectares of irrigated land that will now become a wasteland.” In the words of Andreu, “the PSOE digs two graves with this decision, that of the Levantine farmers and also its political grave in this area.”
He has also insisted that “the decision adopted by the Ministry is purely ideological, since it does not obey technical criteria, and completely authoritarian, given that it has ignored hundreds of allegations against the Tagus plan.”
Asaja takes another step in the line of battle that other entities affected by the decision of Minister Teresa Ribera have planted, with the connivance of the President of the Executive and the rest of the coalition. The organization joins the lawsuit filed by the Diputación de Alicante to claim the 5,000 million euros in lost profits caused by the closure of the transfer medium, and urges the Government to immediately meet with the presidents and regional councilors of Murcia and Andalusia, who have demanded explanations for this “unscientific, fanatical and stupid” decision, Andreu described.
Regarding the demand that the Valencian Generalitat has announced in defense of the transfer, Andreu has considered that it arrives late and “lukewarmly” at the end of a fight for water in which “Ximo Puig, Mireia Mollà [Minister of Agriculture] and the The rest of the Consell have kept their profile all the time to protect their relationship with the Socialists and the related parties that support the Government coalition”.
In addition, he stressed that “they have delegated the defense of their citizens to the legal technicians of the Generalitat, putting officials in their place to fight a political battle. “Problems are not solved by going to court by system, you have to take the suitcase and go up to Madrid and work for the transfer”, concluded Andreu, who added that “the approval of the Tajo basin plan is a double victory for Page and an absolute ridicule for the Valencian PSOE”.