BAGUIO CITY — Vice Mayor Daniel Fariñas expressed doubts that the P950 million proposed budget submitted by Mayor Reinaldo Bautista can be raised to 1.1 billion pesos as suggested by the city council particularly by Councilor Galo Weygan.
In the weekly Ulat sa Bayan held in the city mayor’s office, Farias said that some of the councilors are looking into a 150 million additional source from raised rental of market stalls and raised garbage fees and increased share from the Baguio City Export Processing Zones (BCEPZ) taxes.
Fariñas explained that once the city budget is finalized and approved, it will be duly appropriated for infrastracture projects and city operations. He further explained that if the projected budget cannot meet the actual appropriation in each implementation, it will result to a deficit and that will be bad for the city.
Councilor Antonio Tabora, head of the council’s public works committee added that if the 1.1 billion peso target will not materialize, then Baguio will be like the city of California in the United States of America that accumulated a large deficit because of high projection of budget appropriations.
Fariñas admitted that the city just like other cities allocated Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) was lessened beacause of the creation of more cities in the country. He said that Baguio was getting around 150- to 180 million pesos before but it has now been reduced to 80 million.
The vice mayor said that the suggestion of some of the councilors to raise the rental and garbage fees is not timely because of the effect of the financial crisis everybody is experiencing. He also said that the other sources of income are actually still collectibles.
Farinas is hopeful that the issue will be solved in an executive-legislative meeting with the city council and other officials on Monday, February 23 where they wll discuss the budget allocation and possible source of a supplemental budget.
If the budget is finalized, the vice mayor said that they will prioritize the development of Burnham Park, the repair of the burned building of the city public market and the beautification of the Botanical Garden that was earlier planned by the city government to be transformed into a centennial garden as part of its centennial celebration. # Aldwin Quitasol