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Formentera to issue remarks re: tax on tourist rentals

Foto votacio pleThe Formentera Council convened its April plenary session today. Members of the plenary unanimously passed a measure to share comments with the Govern Balear on a proposed change to the law regulating the tourist accommodation tax law and various measures concerning sustainable tourism. Land management councillor Alejandra Ferrer explained that the law, in its current form, “doesn't yet include all of the Council's remarks.”

Ferrer indicated that the comments adopted today in plenary reflect a desire for the local island councils to play a more important role in sustainable tourism committees. The task of the committees is to pick which projects will move ahead and receive funding. If no changes are made, she said, the law will give local councils only minimal representation. Though the law purports to give members of “regional” groups a say in the process, there is no guarantee of representation on an island-by-island basis. Ferrer says she supports the tax, but insists it must be adapted to the needs and particulars of Formentera. Nevertheless, Ferrer did point out that some improvements had been secured during parliamentary review of the measure thanks to the intervention of Formentera's representative in parliament, Diputada Sílvia Tur.

Tougher fines

Plenary members also gave unanimous support for an initial proposal to modify a municipal ordinance on waste collection and street cleaning. Environment councillor Daisee Aguilera reported that “infractions and antisocial behaviour by companies and private citizens” were behind a decision to assign heavier fines. As it stands, the ordinance establishes fines of €1-€750 for minor offences, €751-€1,500 for serious ones and €1,501-€3,000 for infractions considered very serious. The newly adopted text not only creates a new class of even more serious infractions, it also establishes stiffer fines for the infractions already on the books: €150-€900, €900-45,000 and €45,000-€1,750,000, respectively.

“We hope that the changes serve to discourage offenders,” said the councillor. A proposed municipal inspection team would be tasked with enforcing the ordinance. What is more, the decision has been made to hire an outreach person to raise local awareness this summer and “help keep the island clean,” added Aguilera.

Members also voted “yes” on a proposal to seek exemption from the central government's royal decree (known as the “sun tax”) regulating 0km energy. As for one trade-related measure, plenary members unanimously supported a campaign to boost business activity in the winter.

Social welfare and human resources councillor gives account of department activity

Vanessa Parellada, CiF councillor of social welfare and human resources, gave plenary attendees an account of her offices' recent work, highlighting first and foremost what she called an underlying guiding principle: “striving to provide the people of Formentera with fair access to healthcare resources”. She also emphasised the importance of a high level of quality of life for those members of island's population with disabilities and the elderly. Finally, she identified residents with mental disabilities as the latest on the list of priorities for caregiving at the Formentera Day Centre.

One of the tasks to be dealt with, proclaimed the councillor, is increasing the day centre's capacity. Eventually, Parellada's goal is for the centre to provide Formentera seniors with care that is truly comprehensive. She also homed in on protecting youth from risky behaviour as a prime concern.

The need to improve the situation of youth was an overarching theme in Parellada's presentation, though in terms of human resources she also underscored the importance of securing equality and guaranteeing the full integration of all residents. The councillor closed by thanking the employees of her department for their hard work and continued efforts.

Fire ban starts on Sunday May 1

The president's office of the Formentera Council has issued a reminder concerning the impending start of a summer fire ban. The ban, which starts this Sunday May 1 and extends through October 15, is aimed at reducing the risk of forest fires during the high risk summer period. In a cautionary note sounded by department head Bartomeu Escandell, an especially dry winter was pointed to as the motive for the ban. “This is a time when every possible precautionary measure should be taken,” he said.

Council launches directory of tourism professionals

Foto RP borsa de treballThe Formentera Council's Office of Tourism and Trade has announced the launch of a database of experienced job-seekers available for hire at Formentera businesses. Tourism councillor Alejandra Ferrer made the announcement this morning in a press conference with Carlos Bernús, head of the local tourism advisory board (Patronat de Turisme) and Pep Mayans, president of Formentera's association of SMEs (PIMEEF).

Tradesmen with businesses in tourism will now have access to a register of qualified professionals currently seeking employment. After setting up a username and password, employers can access the listing directly at www.turijobs.com/home/logon and at the CiF and Office of Tourism websites. According to Councillor Ferrer, a total of 9,114 individuals wanted to be considered for 130 jobs. Of the initial applicant pool, 280 were interviewed in person as part of the Formentera Talent Tour initiative in Madrid, Bilbao, Sevilla and Barcelona. Another 600 were interviewed via Skype.

Job-seekers profiles were uploaded to the turijobs register, which business owners can now consult in order to make their selection. The ultimate decision on who to hire will fall to employers themselves, though the Formentera Council will provide technical assistance —such as advice concerning video conference calls— as necessary. More information is available by contacting the Office of Tourism directly.

Ferrer pointed out that “the project came about in response to calls from the business community for trained, seasoned job-seekers. This is a way for us to make sure that improvements aren't limited to infrastructure; that they extend to service quality too.” It is worth noting that the database includes special mention of those candidates that live on the island and already have housing. The initiative has benefitted from the support of the chamber of commerce of Eivissa and Formentera and the PIMEEF and has received €35,000 from the Formentera Council.

Summer hours in effect for parking in la Savina

Aparcament la Savina premsa2The Formentera Council's Office of Transport has announced summer changes to the regulated parking scheme in la Savina. From Sunday May 1, the following changes to blue and green zone parking will take effect: drivers can leave their cars parked a maximum of one day in summer, as opposed to the three-day limit applied in winter. Residents of la Savina, however, can continue parking up to 15 days provided they park in green zone spots. A change will also take place in the hours during which regulated parking is enforced: the daily timetable —which in winter extends from 9.00am-12 midnight— will now be from 9.00am to 9.00pm.

The changes, said transport councillor Rafael González, reflect requests made by residents and tradesmen of la Savina after the first summer of regulated parking. The councillor also announced 45 new parking places in la Savina for scooters, a move motivated by the observation that demand for parking spots outpaced availability. As set out in a municipal ordinance to that effect, there will be a maximum of three scooter parking areas in la Savina.

This Saturday, Leonmanso performs at Casa del Poble in la Mola

leonmanso 1For lovers of singer-songwriters, the Formentera Council (CiF) Office of Culture is pleased to announce a performance by Leonmanso this Saturday, April 30, in promotion of the artist's newest CD, Jardins de brutes basses. The Minorcan performer's sound is described as a mixture of folk pop and singer-songwriter traditions, while still distinctly reminiscent of typically American sounds.

The private universe of Llure Marquès (aka Leonmanso) is made up of magical anecdotes, intimate experiences and universal reflections. In this, his second disc, the ensemble is tied together in a package of multicoloured craft paper. Autobiographical stories (Com ells, Sa mamà cuida ses flors o Com tronc corrent avall) appear alongside dreamworld jaunts (Es tren and the hit Darrer intent) and even the odd nightmare (Es vell malalt). To be sure, the sound is bare bones, very well steeped. The dry brand of folk harkens back to Marquès' own youth where both grunge and traditional Minorcan performers like Joan Fandango were present.

Jardins de brutes basses was recorded and produced by the artist's friend (and former Spectrum rival) Quim Torres, himself a member of music group Delên. The album was recorded in a house in the Minorcan countryside with the benefit of simmering pots of home cooking, friends, shaggy pets and family. Jardins is the first offering from Velomar Records, a fledgling Minorcan record label that is already teeming with bright ideas and exciting projects.

The concert will take place Saturday April 30 at 8.30pm in la Casa del Poble in la Mola. The event is part of the Institut d'Estudis Baleàrics' initiative Talent Ib. For more information, head over to: http://velomarrecords.com/leonmanso/

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