Sales tax hike greets new year
Pelican ‘hits’ Parade: By Counterize, for Dec. 24, 2013
Today Last 24 hours Last 7 days Last 30 days Total Hits 516 1209 5799 21548 47480
MASSES AT POBLADO’S Sta. Teresita del Nino (Roman Catholic) Church for New Year are 11 p.m. Dec. 31 and 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Jan. 1
Cooking Class on regional Mexican cuisine at 10 a.m. Friday at Latitude 20 Restaurant through March. More info at 984-802-9372
The Colonos office will be closed Dec. 31-Jan. 1 and open Friday, Jan. 3.
Holidays dance party with DJ Bob 7 to 10:30 P.M. Dec. 27 at Latitude 20 Restaurant on the Lagoon of Dreams. P.S. Latitude Catering is available for home parties. Reach them at email@example.com.
FOR CATERED party information click on Puerto Aventuras Catering logo at left
Runners in the annual road race, being held on Jan. 19 this year, are reminded to get in shape to vie for one of the prizes. More details later.
Library Hours over the holidays: Open Dec. 27 and Jan 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Regular hours resume Jan. 7, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.
WANTED TO BUY: Golf cart, aluminum frame, 4-person, good shape. Contact Carlos 984-111-1252
HOUSE SITTING, experienced sale staging, excellent references, competent adult…click on “for sale” page
‘Christmas spirit’ a permanent
resident of Puerto Aventuras
Have you ever wondered if the spirit of Christmas and giving ends on Dec. 26 or does it continue throughout the year?
The Pelican learned last week during an evening ride from Puerto Aventuras to a 90th Street neighborhood in Playa del Carmen that, in many instances, the yuletide spirit does indeed live on, endlessly infusing humankind with hope and courage in selfless, private acts of kindness and generosity large and small.
We were in Hal Harper’s SUV with Harper, Lenny Libis and Rob and Sheralee Solosth, being followed by another car driven by Anne Silver, who was accompanied by Jayne Halle, all of them Puerto Aventuras volunteers along with Gaylita Dunaway, at a horse therapy program for special needs children that runs all year.
They were on their way to the annual Posada held at a modest schoolhouse where Edith Mangana, mother of a disabled child, runs a school for special needs children and several adults in addition to the horse therapy program called Centro de Equinoterapia de Playa del Carmen, A.C.
Lighting the way
It was an evening of singing, lighting candles and re-enacting Joseph and Mary’s search for a place to stay on Christmas eve, called the “posada.” That was followed in the small, walled- in school yard, by watching with glee the client children take turns at walloping the “pinatas” as best they could and with a depth of joy that was palpable. Then came light food and desserts, a visit from an underfed but no less robust Santa, whom the children hugged as they excitedly received their gifts.
“Do you know,” said Harper in an aside,” that Gaylita shops for all those gifts, not only for the client children but for the siblings so they don’t feel left out.” It’s not an easy chore, he said, considering the gifts have to be not only gender and age but also ability specific.” The funds for the gifts comes from the volunteers.
But it’s the time they spend all year with the children – time being a most precious commodity – forming bonds that deliver pleasure and sense of accomplishment to clients and volunteers alike.In the course of the evening, you learn game-changing things about the cosmopolitan snowbirds and expats living in Puerto Aventuras that make you want to hum a tune:
Caring with carrots
Lenny tells you about the little extras that he and Hal bring to their weekly stints of leading client children on horses around a ring for an hour or more. “We bring carrots for the horses,” he says, then adds. “Hal is one heck of a recruiter,” of volunteers.
Hal reveals that the volunteers also work four days at the annual Mayakoba golf tourney and all proceeds of their work given to the school. He describes Gaylita as the “Madonna” of horse therapy, noting she earned the title the hard way over the years by being “kicked, bitten and thrown off” a horse and this year suffering a broken wrist. ”No other volunteer has ever had a thing like that happen to them,” he says, because not all actually get up on a horse to hold a child safely.
You learn it sometimes takes three volunteers to handle one disabled child up on a horse, one to lead and two on each side to assure safety, unless there is a volunteer on the horse also holding and guiding the child to allow his or her body to move with the horse. It’s a demanding task. One can almost feel the sense of attainment Gaylita herself feels when up on a horse with a child who is moving in rhythmic syncopation for the first time as the horse sways and rocks gently around the ring. Then there is the quiet glee of caretakers who seldom see such a range of motion in their disabled child. This goes on all year long.
And there’s more
There is no forgetting the many individual acts of kindness emanating from the resort community to the one across the highway, private acts like paying for education lessons and medical procedures (one family donating nearly $18,000 U.S. last year). There are also the more transparent efforts of organizations such as FOPA (Friends of Puerto Aventuras) and Anat Kah, this area’s United Fund, contributing grandly to the general education, welfare and progress of native inhabitants among other agencies and organizations listed in this year’s Colonos Assembly report available at the Colonos office.
Onward to a feel-good 2014 of peace and progress for all people.
Sales tax is rising,
but sky not falling
The snowbird sky over Paradise won’t fall and the world won’t end just because Mexico will introduce tax reform measures beginning Jan. 1. Happy New Year!
Some lawyers are already insinuating, in doomsday blogs, a plethora of dire consequences for scofflaws who do not immediately conform to the new regulations, teasing potential clients with just enough information to make them willing to pay for more.
Other legal counselors are sharing what they know about the law’s general goals and infer it will take some time for every interwoven detail, every type exemption, and every logical interpretation to trickle down to every law and accounting office, every municipality, every business and every family under every circumstance.
Sales tax up 5% to 16%
The most immediate and all-inclusive financial impact on the majority of snowbirds and non-working expats will probably be the sales tax, or VAT (Value Added Tax) on goods and services already in effect in other parts of the nation. e’pura Water Co. was among the first to react several weeks ago with a home-delivered message that its rate would rise 1 peso, to 26 pesos per bottle in the resort area.
It means, as thus far determined, a 5 percent increase in almost all consumer products and services, groceries and medicines excepted, but almost everything else included – transportation, rent, (gasoline to what degree?), private-school tuition, pet food, bus tickets and nearly everything else. What portion of the tax hike vendors will swallow, if any, depends on the individual vendor and service provider.
A 5% higher sales tax is not good news for a nation with a 45%, poverty rate and financially vulnerable and questionable middle class that, some say, will be hurt most. But, the Nieto administration says Mexico needs to overcome its standing as the nation with the lowest tax collection rate of the 34 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The news isn’t earth-shattering for snowbirds who can afford multiple homes, frequent flying and dining out routines. If you have a 400-peso bill with an 11 percent tax, you pay a 44-peso (roughly $3.39 USD) tax now. After Jan. 1 you pay 16 %, or 64 pesos (roughly $4.93 USD) or $1.44 more.
One analysis estimates that a family of four earning $38,000 a year will pay about $260 a month in taxes between the 5 percent sales tax for goods and services and an increase of several points in the income tax.
Banking changes are also in store, likely adding to aggravations already experienced by some Puerto Aventuras snowbirds. Those changes will be between client and bank through the standard course of banking. Foreigners in small business here will need to rely on their accountants for proper and timely advice. Exemptions for capital gains on property sales have been increased. Talk to your realtor if you’re selling.
Small-business men in Playa del Carmen and elsewhere have generally panned the increase as threatening their profits if they must raise prices accordingly to remain viable. They say tourists are already spending less and that price hikes won’t help them loosen the grip on their cash.
They also express concern over major new policies providing tighter government scrutiny and oversight on how receipts (facturas) will be processed electronically to assure maximum tax collections and further rein in the cash-only sub-culture businesses like taco stands, limiting cash deals to 2,000 pesos.
Local views vary – Here in Puerto Aventuras, businesses have varying views. Ken Kindred of Riviera Maya Dry Marina and Storage, said for the moment his business has no immediate plan to raise prices to cover the increase. “We charge a flat rate and our accountant takes care of those things from our flat-rate receipts,” he said.
Peter Metrick of Latitude 20 Restaurant said he doesn’t yet know if he will have to raise consumer prices or if he’ll be able to cover the tax with current pricing. “It’s one thing to bump up the price of a meal if you cater to tourists here for a week or two. But I have a community repeat business which, incidentally, is for sale if we can get our price.” He said the key will be, as always, in adaptability and the price of the food itself.
Lothar Batt, a partner in a condo administration company here, says he thinks that in general prices will rise almost everywhere by 5 percent. He could not predict as of this writing what potential increase in maintenance fees would be recommended for each of his company’s complexes because they are all different with varying needs and situations.
The Colonos administration, which collects maintenance fees from all properties, asked for and received a 3.5 percent increase to cover the IVA tax hike and 5% employee raises at its assembly several weeks ago.
The best that can be hoped for is that the increased taxes are reflected in improvements to infrastructure, education and welfare and not in media exposures of increased fraud by business charlatans and corruption in the halls of government.
Medical priority improves deal
for 44-foot ‘dreamboat’ yacht
At 65, Frances England of Paamul has had to decide on a heart bypass operation or continued attempt to deliver on her now-dead husband’s dream of a Mexican lifestyle offering yacht charters to vacationers.
It was a vision she shared with her husband before he died within 53 days of being diagnosed with cancer a few years ago in their native Texas.
Now the ‘dreamboat’ is like an anchor keeping her in Mexico when in fact she needs to be in the United States for the procedure which is mostly covered by U.S. insurance. But, she said in an interview this week, she can’t afford the incidental financial needs of housing and recuperation for a return to the United States to undergo the surgery.
Her son, Jeff, who lives with her in Paamul where their palapa home is also for sale, realize expediency is required for the surgery since it was recommended by doctors more than a year ago. “I can’t leave until I sell the boat,” she said.
So the price of the 44-foot yacht, docked in Puerto Aventuras and originally offered for sale at $136,000, has been reduced. Following a “scare last week” with chest pains, she dropped their asking price for a loss to $126,000 in an attempt to expedite the sale and will listen, she said, “to any reasonable offer.”
The 1998 Sea Ray Sedan Bridge is equipped with 454 MAG MPI Horizon engines and has been immaculately maintained, Mrs. England said. It has two fully furnished staterooms, two full baths, kitchen, living quarters, fully air conditioned, generator. radar, GPS, chart plotter, autopilot, fish finder and more. Anyone interested in making an offer can get in touch with Mrs. England by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 984-120-0253.
Pemex headlock on oil industry broken:
Nieto: Foreign investment adds promise
President Enrique Pena Nieto has signed a bill breaking the 75-year-old monopoly state-owned Pemex had on the nation’s oil industry, which is now open to foreign investment and increased production. Among other things, the bill is expected to pump up oil production from a current low point of 2.5 million barrels a day (down from 3.4 million in 2004) and should bring a drop in natural gas prices via increased shale gas production and cost of electricity, lead to faster economic growth, increase productivity, create more jobs and even increase food production as fertilizer production rises.
The Mail Bag
Volunteers sought to assist
in cat neuter/spay program
Ever been awakened deep into the night with the screeching sound of wild cats procreating near your residence? (Edit. Note: YES!) Has their territory become your deck where they relieve themselves, give birth, etc. because neighbors are feeding the cute little kitten families? Do you lay awake at night feeling helpless thinking how this problem could get out of control if someone doesn’t do something about it and quick?
Well that’s why I got involved.
First thing you should know is that for the past four years, there has been a PA program sponsored by the Colonos whose general manager, Armando Rincon, has worked with Diana Wells of the local Maskoketos Vet Clinic, to address the problem. Diana came from Argentina two years ago to work for Dolphin Discovery and decided to open up her own vet clinic here in town.
This is how it works: Various humane traps are set up by local volunteers, security employees and Diana to capture cats that are identified as problems. She does the surgeries late into the night after she closes shop. She spays and neuters around 20 healthy cats a week to keep up with the demand. After surgery she clips the corner of the cat’s ear so we can identify them in the future and releases them into the area of origin. Diane believes this is the most humane thing to do. Armando and Diane agree that the cat population is starting to get under control and is diminishing. Should this trend not continue, discussion was about the possibility of relocating some cats.
If you have any cats in your area, look closer to see if one of their ears is clipped off on the tip. If so, it tells you that cat has had surgery. Good news is that a treated cat will quiet down, put on a bit of body weight and will not reproduce. However, if you find one that you aren’t sure about and would like to have it checked out, please contact email@example.com or http://www.colonos.org or telephone 984-873-5116 or 17 and we’’ll respond as soon as we can. Of course volunteers are always welcome and needed to assist in this community effort…please.
The guitar just sold. Someone saw the Pelican Free Press ad through a Playa board link and I sold it for my asking price this morning. This means Dave and I have a new TV to enjoy as our Christmas gift this year. Thanks for your help.
CROC-A-DOODLE DO – The Navy was called out last Friday to help capture a small crocodiles frolicking in water off the touristy Mamitas Beach in Playa del Carmen. It was humanely removed from the area…TRAFFIC CONTROL by an army of white-gloved police will help expedite vehicular movement in Playa’s Centro area during the holiday high-season…TIME AND SPACE(Y) FESTIVAL of music at the Tanakah Caleta in Tulum this past weekend turned into a booze, drugs and sex festival that careened out of control with somebody pulling a gun, according to media reports…CHICKEN IN EVERY POT was a promise in the 1928 campaign of U.S. President Herbert Hoover that didn’t immediately pan out. Now it’s a similar situation in parts of Mexico where natives in surrounding Q. Roo communities didn’t have enough money for a holiday chicken as President Pena Nieto strives to lift a stagnant economy in a world of stagnant economies…THE MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT of Solidaridad plans to strengthen rules to prevent fraudulent practices concerning the sale of time shares that are giving the industry a bad name. There are also plans afoot to further protect cenotes and caverns from environmental abuse…
Phrase a Week… with Gloria Contreras, state certified interpreter
New taxes will greet the new year. In Spanish, you would say, “Nuevos impuestos saludo de Año Nuevo ”
Anyone interested in learning the language can please contact Ms. Contreras by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Cel: 984-108-3517 .
Church Services… Please click Colonos icon on right top of page.
AA and Alanon meetings…
AA and ALANON meetings are held at the public library at the Colegio as follows:
AA Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m; Thursdays at 6 p.m. and Saturdays at noon. ALANON meeting is held Mondays at 5:30 p.m., also at the library. Meetings are “open” and non-members are welcomed to attend.