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Aug 13, 2014

Municipalities Complain About Belize City Council Bailout

Sanitation has been in the news incessantly, with the B.M.L. situation threatening to blow up and out of control. A very timely intervention by Prime Minister Barrow in the form of a financial bailout saved the day. It’s not the first time the PM has provided some serious cash assistance to the Belize City Council, and not surprisingly it’s caught the attention of the other municipalities. All of them struggle to survive on a small subvention and whatever revenues come their way and all of them, including the U.D.P.-run municipalities, operate basically in the red. So why is Belize City getting so much Central Government largesse? There’s a political answer to that question, but that’s no consolation. Today Orange Walk Mayor Kevin Bernard told News Five that the PM’s decision was a good one for the B.M.L. workers, but not a popular one in the municipalities.

 

Kevin Bernard, Mayor, Orange Walk Town

Kevin Bernard

“When I listened to the press conference last week when the Prime Minister decided to again bail out the Belize City Council…while myself and Mayor Bradley are good friends…we went to school together and graduated from the same Sixth form. But talking from the political angle, I think that if you go around the municipalities you will find a lot of upset UDP Mayors too because at the end of the day it seems that the attention is simply being given to the Belize City Council. I am happy that the BML workers were able to get some support through the government, but at the end of the day this was a calculated move simply to save the Belize City Council.”

 

Reporter

“Is sanitation a big concern for your municipality and others that you know of as well?”

 

Kevin Bernard

“Well we have our sanitation department. It’s a costly department based on the fact that we don’t collect revenues from residential garbage fees or so…we simply collect commercial garbage fees. For example in Orange Walk our monthly sanitation expense amounts to about forty thousand, and we only collect about eight thousand a month in commercial garbage fees. So it’s only a drop in the bucket to basically sustain that department so we have to depend on other revenue streams to be able to sustain that department and so we have to depend on other revenue streams to be able to sustain that department. But I think it’s very important for us to understand that I think it’s a huge task that the Belize City Council will be taking up after January, but at the end of the day maybe the government again will decide to bail them out.”

 

Government’s assistance in the B.M.L. scenario will amount to almost one million dollars in the next six months. 

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1 Response for “Municipalities Complain About Belize City Council Bailout”

  1. Ricky Malthus says:

    All municipalities are supported financially by law by Central Government. There must be a line item budgeted annually for the operations of all municipalities. That is one of the reasons Belizeans pay taxes. Let’s change the law so municipalities tax their residents directly but that means Central Government will have to cancel that levy on its side. One doesn’t have to be a brainiac to see the sense behind this.

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