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Aug 5, 2014

Still No Timeline for Payment of BML Debt

At the heart of the ongoing sanitation crisis is an outstanding balance of one point four million dollars which City Hall owes to Belize Maintenance Limited for eighteen weeks of garbage collection.  Despite admitting that keeping up with weekly payments at this time of year is problematic, the Belize City Council is yet to issue a timeline for the accruing debt.  In December of last year, when the municipal government was faced with a similar issue involving Belize Waste Control, payments were doubled in an effort to reduce its arrears.  That was possible simply because CitCo collects most of its revenue between the fourth and first quarters of each year.  This time however, it finds itself in the middle of a quandary in which cash flow is but a trickle.  Mayor Darrell Bradley told News Five that while an exact payment plan is being outlined, BML should also formulate a plan of its own come January 2015 since the affected workers are employees of the sanitation company.

 

Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor

Darrel Bradley

“We are putting this on the table because we want them to plan just as how we are planning to absorb the function, that the staff there must be planning and then also that company must plan what they will do after January 2015. We have a city council that inherited two really, in my view, outrageous contracts and in respect to BML, that’s costing us seventy-eight thousand dollars per week, that’s a significant burden for any organization to bear, especially a public organization that, like municipalities throughout the country which don’t take in a significant amount of resources in a year.  So I don’t think, I wouldn’t say that it’s a black eye.  It’s something that people expect that I would deal with.  In terms of strike actions this has happened before.  I remember the former Mayor Zenaida [Moya] had to deal with strike action.  Last year I had to deal with strike action that was on [Belize] Waste Control.  This year now we’re dealing with BML.  The problem, I have always said is the sanitation contracts, like that is the problem.  It’s not that this is something new, it’s not that it’s something unexpected, it’s not that it’s something that’s coming out of left field.  We expect this because it’s something that happens every single year because we have these significant contracts that really saddle the ability of the city council to discharge its function.  And when that contract is expired in January of 2015 and it is not renewed by this municipality that will be a saving grace because that’s an additional four million in cash flow that we will have.”

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