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Jun 21, 2018

Dire Straits at City Hall, Deputy Mayor Arnold Explains Financial Crunch

Oscar Arnold

Deputy Mayor Oscar Arnold also spoke on the financial crunch City Hall is experiencing. It is well known that December through March is the period during which the council’s revenue collection is at an all time high as property taxes and trade license payments come in. Those account for roughly seventy-two percent of the total inflows for the year. Sixty-five percent of that amount is collected in the four months and is budgeted to spread evenly throughout the months where inflows are minimal.  Arnold says that there was huge spending at the start of year before they took office, which has the left the council tight for cash.

 

Oscar Arnold, Deputy Mayor, Belize City

“This was an election year and lamentably those funds were used; were spent on projects or whatever else we may have. And so that sort of kinda scheduling out what you have to meet when it comes to the harder months really wasn’t done. And what we are looking at right now is our hardcore receivables, any amounts outstanding out there; we are looking at cutting expenditure, cutting wastages in certain areas; asking managers to ask their staff in the different units to be a little bit more fiscally responsible when it comes to fuel telephone uses. So that whatever cost-saving measures we can have that also throws into the pile so that we can get over the next couple of months when things are really hard at the council. And that is a cyclical problem. That is one of the things that we spoke about when we were campaigning that it doesn’t have to be that way. If you collect sixty percent of your revenue and you spend it in three months, you will end up in problems over the next nine month.”

 

Arnold says that the Municipal Public Accounts Committee will address the cyclical financial problem at City Hall because when implemented, it is expected to provide external oversight over budgeting and expenditure.

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