The recent meeting between the Mayor of Estepona, José María García Urbano, and the Expat resident community produced some interesting feedback. One reader of Estepona News, Roy Lawton, attended the event and had the following to say:
“The impression I formed was that the mayor had prepared his case very well, carefully distancing himself and his team from the previous administration.
He emphasised the financials:-
1) We have been operating on a bankrupt basis – too much cost with income unable to match
2) Despite the inability to increase income, there are many opportunities to reduce costs.
3) Privatisation of various municipal functions plus cost reduction has already been very successful in cost saving. There are more to come!!
He claimed that despite overdue debts to suppliers, business relationships are being maintained
He moved on to marketing the town as a tourist attraction:-
4) Initiatives to improve the appearance of the town have been successful.
5) There are more plans in hand – not just reparation but new landmarks and constructions.
At question time he competently dealt with most of the points raised. However, with an audience of mainly retired Northern Europeans, “the elephant in the room” based on recent Estepona history was clearly corruption, and a question from the audience raised this specific issue.
The response from the mayor was unconvincing, or more accurately lacking any degree of emotion to most attendees. and the common view will remain amongst the expatriate community, that with Estepona´s history of corruption there remains a mayoral stage awaiting an anti-corruption visionary.
Finally there was a feeling that the opportunity to professionally market Estepona as a tourist/foreign resident location, remains to be addressed.
On this performance, a good start, but the jury remains out on his administrations´re-election prospects!!”
For those readers that speak Spanish there is a link to a video report of the event from Estepona TV.