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Dec 16, 2009

City Council can’t afford to break garbage contract

Story PictureOn Tuesday we reported of a shakeup and a proposed pay cut that is on the table for City Councilors. The bankrupt Council has run from one crisis to the next and still has the lingering problem of being unable to come up with payments to sanitation companies. The council pays over seventy thousand dollars a week to one of the companies, Belize Maintenance Limited; that’s adds up to a little under three point seven million dollars a year. One proposal has been to break the B.M.L. contract and have the council buy its own trucks. At Monday’s caucus at City Hall, the council considered a feasibility study to see if they would be able to afford the repercussions of such a move. According to Deputy Mayor Dion Leslie, breaking the contract could rupture the city’s already limited financial resources.

Dion Leslie, Deputy Mayor, Belize City
“With sanitation, the topic came up, a feasibility study was done by councilor Willoughby and members of the sanitation department whereby figures that he crunched up and taking into account different things basically it’s not feasible for us to break the contract. We’d have to pay too much to B.M.L.; first of all cover his bank payment and then we’d have to give him something extra to reimburse for the contract. Then we would have to find people to do it ourselves. So with the figures that were presented yesterday—they’re not figures; the council was presented with the figures so we could go over and look at it but at this time it’s looking like the council might take a stance that it’s not feasible to break the contract.”

Jose Sanchez
“And when would these contracts run out?”

Dion Leslie
“The B.M.L. contract runs out in the next five years. Something I want to mention also about B.M.L., the perception is still out there that the one hundred workers that were not fired but were sent home, that they are still at home. I spoke with Mister Ellis yesterday and he reassured that everyone is back at work, that B.M.L. is now operating at full capacity, that he has given the workers all the back pay that they are due. So everything is on stream and working at full capacity for B.M.L., so we’re supposed to see dramatic changes now including B.M.L. now takes over the hot spot collection that the council was doing. An agreement was worked out with B.M.L. and a cabinet subcommittee and it was presented to the council and the council agreed on it that we would now have Mister Ellis, he agreed as well to pick up all the hotspots around the city which would help him cause the less hot spots, the less garbage would have to be cleaned and swept off the streets.”

Though the feasibility study was overseen by councilor Philip Willoughby, his portfolio was split in two on Monday. Willoughby now focuses his attention solely on Belize Waste Control and garbage collection. Roger Espejo will now liaise with B.M.L.

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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