City Hall to lower revenue targets
With a smaller P6.3 billion proposed budget for next year, Cebu City Hall is less pressured to meet large target revenues to fund the proposal.
The Local Finance Committee (LFC) of the executive department has decreased some of their target collection for some revenue sources for next year compared to their targets for this year.
During the start of the marathon budget hearings on Wednesday, City Treasurer Tessie Camarillo explained that compared to previous years, their target revenue collections for 2018 are now more realizable.
“We made it realistic. For the past years, we have not reached our targets. But now, we are nearer to our estimated and realizable revenues,” she said.
Among the target sources of funds that have been reduced is that of the Real Property Taxes (RPT) from P1.6 billion this year to only P1 billion for next year.
Expected revenues from professional taxes and other smaller taxes have also been reduced to P359,000 compared to the target this year for “other local taxes” which was pegged at P1.3 billion.
Biz tax target up
However, some other sources of revenues have been targeted to increase next year including that of business taxes. From the target collection of P1.5 billion this year, this has been increased to P1.76 billion in 2018.
“We increased the target collection for business taxes since there are proposed amendments to increase our tax rates. Since 1994, we have not increased our tax rates,” Camarillo said.
During the previous administrations of former mayor Michael Rama, his proposed annual budgets reach as much as P18.9 billion. And in those years, the City Treasurer’s Office has failed to reach their target revenue collection making a lot of their proposed allocations unfunded by actual cash.
The committee on budget and finance of the Cebu City Council started the marathon budget hearings on Wednesday for the annual budget proposal.
Councilor Margarita Osmeña, head of the committee, said the budget hearings this time are easier to understand and to deliberate upon since there were prior meetings between some city councilors and the local finance committee prior to the submission of the annual budget proposal.
This is also the first time in several years that the majority bloc in the City Council is allied with the city mayor.
“When I was chairperson of the committee before, we were never invited to meetings of the local finance committee even if we were supposed to be there. Now, it’s easy because I was there with them, and I knew (the proposals). There are no surprises,” said Osmeña, who is also the deputy mayor on budget concerns.
She added that during their meetings with the local finance committee, which is composed of the city treasurer, city administrator, city accountant, and city budget officer among others, they also invited some councilors of the opposition bloc.
They invited Councilors Jose Daluz III and Jocelyn Pesquera who both already have prior experiences as heads of the committee on budget and finance in previous years. It was only Daluz who attended their meetings, though.
Aside from the LFC, the committee also heard the proposals of some offices under the mayor’s office and that of the city administrator’s office, but there were not much discussions.
Simple process now
“It is very simple now because there are no changes. What we were just asking was how the offices spent their approved budgets this year in order for them to justify getting the same budget for next year,” Osmeña said.
Since Mayor Tomas Osmeña proposed a “skin-and-bones” annual budget for 2018, offices in City Hall have proposed more or less the same budget as what they received this year.
Additional expenses, they said, can be covered by supplemental budgets next year when the city exceeds their target revenue collections or if they find other sources of funds.
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