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The Administration in Spain

The Administration in Spain

1. The town hall

The municipality is the basic entity in the territorial organisation of the state and where the citizens have the opportunity of most immediate participation in public matters. The municipality today has a high degree of self-government in many areas.

The law classifies as entidades locales (local entities) the municipalities, the "comarcas" (group of municipalities covering part of a province), the provinces, the "cabildos" or "consejos" on the islands and other forms of collaborations between municipalities.

The municipality is governed in accordance with Law 7/1985 on local rule (Regimen Local) and other national and regional laws. But it may also establish "reglamentos" (by-laws) on certain matters.

Local elections are held every fourth year. Voters are the Spanish citizens and residents from the EU states and Norway, registered in the "padron municipal" (register of inhabitants). The voters elect between the lists proposed by the political parties or local independent groups, a number of "consejales", (councillors) who are called “consejeros” in the Autonomous Communities. The plenum of councillors elects the mayor and other special charges.

The town hall is mainly financed by local taxes and charges. The most important tax is the "Impuesto de Bienes Inmuebles", I.B.I., the local property tax. Often this tax, as well as other local taxes and charges, are collected by provincial tax collecting agencies, like SUMA in the province of Alicante. Another important source of income are grants and transfers from national and regional governments. Such grants are often given in relation to the number of registered inhabitants in the municipality.

 

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