IT is sometimes considered nothing more than an administrative bind, but there are many positive reasons why we should all make sure that we are on one key local register – the padrón at the town hall.
The padrón is the municipal register which aims to give a true overview of the people who reside in a town. It is a mandatory requirement, but also ensures sufficient funding for all public services.
It is also essential for foreign residents wanting to make their status entirely legal and above board in Spain, and, depending on your local town hall, gets extra benefits for those on the register. These can include discounts at sports centres, pensioners’ days out, and even free bus travel.
By registering on the padrón we advise the local council that we are living in the property under their administration. This then ensures that they provide such necessary services as waste collection, for example, and policing.
The town halls submit the information on their records to the central government, which then ensures that funding is provided for the correct number of people living in the area.
However, the information goes even deeper than that. Every town and municipality in Spain has a status, and that status is derived from the number of people officially living there, derived from the data provided by the padrón.
A town with more than 100,000 residents is classed differently to one with fewer registered on the padrón. That status is then reflected in such matters as the total number of councillors who sit in authority, whether national resources such as the Guardia Civil can be allocated to the area, and, more importantly, the overall budget from central government.
Local taxes are collected by the town halls and invested in services that ensure the running of the municipality, but these funds are not enough to cover all services, and so are supplemented by the regional and national governments, regional authorities being responsible for education, for example.
Although we can understand that towns of differing populations should be treated differently based on the total population figures, the actual amount of funding differs based not only on the population number, but also per capita, and so, as in our example of a town with more than 100,000 people, the actual investment from the national government increases based on the total population, and then is higher per person for larger towns.
The padrón should be updated periodically, this is an almost automatic process for those involved in such activities as registering for schools, but should be done by everyone in order to ensure that the correct funding is provided and ensured for all local services.