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Apr 2, 2020

Are Municipal Councils Essential Services?

Earlier you heard that municipalities are facing uncertainty on government subventions. Streams of revenue from traffic and property taxes are drying up and collections have dipped considerably. Under the state of emergency, essential services at the councils are limited to waste disposal and market vending. Minister of National Security, Michael Peyrefitte had this to say this afternoon in respect of the Councils.

 

Host

I know that there has been a lot of talk with regards to municipalities and whether or not they are listed as essential service; so councilors, mayors, they are not listed as essential services?”

 

Michael Peyrefitte, Minister of National Security

“No. Only the sanitation departments of the municipalities are deemed to be essential services.”

 

Host

“So, with regards to marketplaces, is it not the municipalities that oversee the marketplace how will that be governed considering municipalities are not listed?”

 

Michael Peyrefitte, Minister of National Security

“The oversight committee will govern wherever there is an oversight the committee will govern that. So markets will be monitored by the oversight committee and the ministry of national security to ensure that they are abiding by the law set out for the market place.”

 

At the Belize City Council, the circumstances are also dire as the new regulations only allow for waste collection and the market to continue to operate. The Council, has however, decided to  keep the Cemetery Office open to accommodate burials which is not included in the list of essential services. The Council sent out a release this morning to explain its predicament. It is now conducting revenue collection on line but it is already seeing a twenty-percent drop in collections.  CitCo employs four hundred and sixty persons and says no one has been let go, but it is crunch time so it has asked employees to take a fifty percent cut for the period April first to fifteenth.  Mayor Bernard Wagner is giving up his April salary and the deputy mayor and councillors have reduced their stipends by fifty percent. The Council is also placing a six-month moratorium on non-essential expenditure such as new jobs and travelling as it struggles to survive this period of economic upheaval.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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