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CitCo Says It’s Financial Performance is Far Better than Past Council One Year Later

CitCo Says It’s Financial Performance is Far Better than Past Council One Year Later
November 16
18:13 2018
THE REPORTER:  Marion Ali, Assistant Editor

The largest municipality in Belize, Belize City, is doing far better than it was a year ago under the previous Council, according to Mayor Bernard Wagner and Deputy Oscar Arnold.

The municipal officials held a press conference on Thursday to present a financial report eight months into its term. Mayor Wagner used a power point presentation to show a comparative analysis of the Council’s expenses, tax collections, trade and liquor license fees and traffic revenues for the months of April, May, June, July, August and September for 2017 under the previous Council and for the same months in 2018 under his stewardship.

The Mayor explained that the current Council has collected more property taxes over the months listed, compared to the previous Council, without offering the incentive of 20 percent discounts for prepayment to residents. He said that to offer a 20 percent discount would be the equivalent of losing much-needed revenues the Council needs to carry out its functions.

The Mayor also informed that the Council was able to cut down significantly on expenses and criticized the previous Council over what he termed as wastage on operating, maintenance and other costs.

“They spent $406,000 in operating costs; we spent $327,000, bringing it down by 19 percent. Maintenance cost – this is the cost where we maintain our machinery, maintain buildings and etc., $452,000; we cut that by half to 56 percent,” Wagner said. He said the current Council has paid out more in pensions and gratuities because the previous Council was not doing so.

The Council also spent less on its social program, but Mayor Wagner said that is because the Council simply does not have the funds at this time because it is cash-strapped and paying off huge debts which it inherited. Deputy Mayor Arnold attributed a lot of the spending done under the previous Council under its social program to pre-electioneering tactics.

The Council is also currently embarking on a manhole cover replacement project, providing over 1,000 manholes to cover hazardous holes that are exposed.

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