Estepona’s popular mayor re-elected with a resounding majority
José María García Urbano and his team at the town hall in Estepona were rewarded for their hard work by a landslide win in the municipal elections of June, when the mayor and his colleagues from the centre-right PP (Partido Popular), were returned to office with a solid outright majority.
With around 70% of the votes in his favour, his majority was the largest in the whole country. More than party politics, however, this result was directly related to the popularity of the mayor himself, who took over the helm when Estepona was down at heel and still suffering from the consequences of the financial crisis.
The coffers were empty, the town was in debt and it was beginning to look a little shabby, but García, who is a successful lawyer and notary, accepted the job for a nominal salary of €1 per year, cut back on unnecessary expenses – in the form of staff that didn’t show up for work, municipal vehicles for private use and hundreds of mobile phone contracts paid for by the town hall – and set about fixing Estepona’s accounts.
Not just that, but he initiated an inspired beautification project in direct association with residents, painting buildings, fixing them up, adding colourful potted plants and landscaping, as well as enlivening apartment blocks and other large structures with the murals and other works of local – often amateur – artists.
The population was re-engaged and Estepona began to look pretty and welcoming again. A town in the ascendancy, it received a further boost when its efficient handling of applications for building licences began to attract a solid stream of investment and attractive, high-end modern property developments, which have further stimulated spending in the new shops, restaurants and specialist services that are springing up.
As the financial situation improved, public projects such as the orchidarium attraction, an athletics facility and an ambitious new hospital were added, along with continued urban improvements and a business-friendly attitude that guides developers but also works with them. It is one of the reasons why FM Consulting has such a close and productive working relationship with a mayor and town hall that encourages quality business and always looks to make the town and its people benefit.
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