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Apr 26, 2018

CitCo Reveals Heavy Misspending by Previous Administration

For the past three weeks, Belize City Mayor Bernard Wagner has been hinting at the gross wastage of public funds at City Hall, during the time of the previous city council.  He refrained from divulging much information to the media, while a transition report was being compiled.  What was found out in due course was that City Administrator Candice Miller was actively involved in the largesse of the Darrell Bradley administration which landed her a suspension that she is still serving.  Today, the mayor dropped a bombshell, opening up the books on the expenses of the past city council.  Those costs are in the millions of dollars, despite City Hall’s revenue streams continuously dwindling.  Large sums of monies were doled out in all areas of the council’s budget, including fuel, celebrations and festivities where funds were most bloated.  According to Mayor Wagner, other senior managers were aware of the excesses but were overruled by their political bosses.  This afternoon, that Transition Report was made public.

 

Bernard Wagner

Bernard Wagner, Belize City Mayor

“What we found is that there was no adherence to budget in the council, everybody was running a free-for-all.  Everyone.  I’ll give you some examples.  Look at the categories.  Overtime – budgeted: one hundred and thirty-six thousand [dollars]; spent: three hundred and thirty-two thousand.  Is there prudence there?  Summer employment, this is when we employ youths.  Twenty thousand budgeted; spent: forty-four thousand.  Special portfolio allocation – budgeted: one hundred and eighty thousand [dollars]; spent: four hundred and six thousand.  Donation – budgeted: seventy-two thousand; spent: a hundred and sixty-three thousand.  This big one here, celebration and festivities, a lot of partying was going on here deputy.  Ninety-six thousand; spent: four hundred and fifty-five thousand.  Entertainment, I wonder if the six thousand deh eena this.  Twenty-six thousand; spent: a hundred and ten thousand.  Fuel – budgeted: half a million dollars; six hundred and forty-one thousand.  How can a council spend over close to a million dollars in fuel?  I’ll leave that to the good press, right.  Scanning of period revealed abuse by previous council and particularly the city administrator in respect to fuel.  The city administrator racked up almost thirty thousand [dollars] annually in fuel.  Interesting to note is the fact that the previous council spent over one point three million in celebrations and festivities from the period 2014 through 2017.  Spent one point three million in celebration and festivities over a three-year period.  And while speaking with the managers, the managers have always been indicating to us that they wanted to comply, but the political directorate did not allow them.  It was a heavy-handedness.”

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