Carmena Creates ‘”Political Table” To Resolve Operación Chamartín

29 October 2015 – Cinco Días

Manuela Carmena, the mayoress of Madrid, wants to start to resolve the situation known as Operación Chamartín, a town planning project in the North of the city that has been up in the air for more than 20 years now. The project is being led by the company Distrito Castellana Norte, in which BBVA owns a stake of more than 70%; the remaining shares are owned by Grupo San José. In order to move forwards, two working groups will be launched, one political and one technical, comprising officials from the Town Hall.

The Town Hall of Madrid will constitute a so-called “political and social table”, which all four of the political parties that have representation in the local government (Ahora Madrid, PP, PSOE and Cuidadanos) will be invited to join. Neighbourhood associations and the company Distrito Castellana Norte will also be encouraged to participate, according to sources at the Town Hall.

The mega-project, which was initially going to be approved by the PP during the previous legislature, will involve private investment amounting to around €6,000 million, the development of land covering 3.1 million m2 and the construction of up to 17,500 homes, over several phases.

The political table will monitor the conditions that Operación Chamartín will have to fulfil to be accepted, based on those approved yesterday by Ahora Madrid and the PSOE, which in turn rejected proposals made by Ciudadanos to create the table immediately and resolve the project within three months.

Ahora Madrid and PSOE agreed instead to an amendment to replace the proposal submitted by Cuidadanos. That group had released a statement defending the immediate creation of the table with the municipal groups, in order to establish the basic guidelines for resolving the operation within a maximum period of 90 days.

Meanwhile, the representative for Sustainable Urban Development, José Manuel Calvo, responded that it does not make sense to limit the duration of the debate to three months, however he added that there is no doubt that the current situation needs to be resolved soon.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Madrid’s Property Tax (IBI) Will Decrease By 7% In 2016

22 September 2015 – El País

In October, the Town Hall of Madrid will approve a 7% decrease in the property tax (‘Impuesto sobre bienes inmuebles’ or IBI) for all homes and the majority of commercial premises, offices and retail stores. This decrease, accepted begrudgingly by the minority Ahora Madrid government following its enforcement by the other parties (PP, PSOE and Ciudadanos), will be passed with equal reluctance next month by the socialists, who were seeking a higher cut. The 7% decrease in IBI will be equivalent to a €25 reduction in the average monthly bill (€350).

Yesterday, a Councillor from the Treasury, Carlos Sánchez Mato (pictured), announced a 7% decrease in the rate of IBI for all homes in the capital (1,448,765 households) and for the majority of non-residential buidlings.

Nevertheless, the rate will increase by 10% for those non-residential buildings that have a “higher cadastral (land registry) value”. The Town Hall defines this threshold as follows: for individual buildings, the increase will apply only to those that have a cadastral value of more than €35 million (there are around 30 such properties in Madrid); retail stores worth more than €860,000 (around 3,000 of more than 97,000); buildings used for sporting activities worth more than €20 million (around 30 in total); and offices worth more than €2 million (1,760 out of almost 32,000).

These targeted increases to non-residential buildings with higher cadastral values will almost entirely offset the decrease in the rate of IBI for the rest of the city.

IBI is the main source of income from the Town Hall, and therefore any change in the rate significantly affects its capacity to provide public services: IBI will account for €1,279 million of the €4,388 million that the municipal coffers will receive this year (i.e. it accounts for almost one in every three euros). The changes proposed by Ahora Madrid will reduce this revenue by just 3.7%.

A new tax

This fall in revenues (€49 million) will be primarily offset by the creation of a new tax to be paid by the companies that generate the most waste. The other municipal taxes will remain unchanged in 2016, although there may be an as -yet-unknown decrease in the price of certain services (sports centres, kindergartens, etc). (…).

Original story: El País (by Bruno García Gallo)

Translation: Carmel Drake