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May 13, 2022

Belize City Council’s Revenue Rebounding

Bernard Wagner

The Belize City Council’s finances are gradually improving, following a stiff financial blow at the height of the pandemic. In 2020, the council’s cyclical revenue stream came to a screeching halt, and employees were placed on a fifty percent salary cut. But, with the rebound of the tourism industry, and the resumption of night life in the Old Capital, Mayor Wagner says his council is experiencing an encouraging comeback. Here is what he told us when we caught up with him on Wednesday.

 

Bernard Wagner, Mayor, Belize City Council

“We are gradually seeing a coming back so to speak of where we were prior to COVID-19. We will never get back to exactly where we want to be. The city is still owes significant sums of money. We continue to pay down obligations that have been on the books for some time. When I came in officer in 2018 we had vendor’s bills that were owed in the neighborhood of thirteen million. I have since brought that down to five million. We inherited a bond which was twenty million. We have brought that down to eleven million. So, we have really been paying down on obligations of the city that we inherited.  We continue to be beset by the fact that a huge percentage of residents in the city have not been paying property taxes, and rightfully so they went through a two year COVID related, but we want to begin to reach out to those property owners to begin to contribute back to the city. We heart everyday that I want my street fixed and drains cleaned, but you are not paying the taxes. So, it is has to be a balance. The property owners and residents have to recognize that at the end of the day you can’t do any work if we don’t get the relevant taxes in to carry out the work.”


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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