BOPK-dominated City Council cuts Rama’s supplemental budget by half
A day after surviving a failed power grab, councilors allied with the Bando Osmena-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK) yesterday showed who’s the boss in the Cebu City Council.
The BO-PK dominated council chopped off half of the P501.2 million supplemental budget requested by Mayor Michael Rama.
The council cited lack of clear sources of funding to support the request.
The mayor had asked for P5 million for discretionary funds and P6 million for intelligence funds. He got only P200,000 and P100,000, respectively.
Overall, only P243.7 million of Supplemental Budget 2 was approved by councilors and members of the Local Finance Committee.
“I’m used to getting half. What’s important is the annual budget ahead,” said the mayor in a press conference later.
Rama said he would make sure the deleted outlays would be restored in the 2015 exeutive budget he will submit to the Council.
“Abangan na lang ang susunod,” he said. (Just watch what follows afterward)
Last Wednesday, allies of Rama in the City Council tried to wrest control of two powerful standing committees of laws, and of budget and finance headed by Councilor Margot Osmeña by calling for a revamp.
But the tables were turned when BO-PK’s nine members outvoted the proposal and approved its own version of a revamp of committees.
Cebu City has an approved budget of P5.9 billion for this year.
OIC City treasurer Diwa Cuevas said her office has so far collected P3.9 billion as of September 30 to fund the city’s operations or P2 billion short of the target.
But Cuevas said she was confident that the city would not have a deficit by year end.
“We have money. At the end of the year we have cash balances to take care of our liabilities,” she said.
Cuevas said the city has yet to receive its share of about P303 million in internal revenue allotment (IRA) for October to December from the national government.
The share was computed at P101 million per month.
There is also P91 million which SM Prime Holdings is scheduled to pay the city on Oct. 14 as third quarter payment for the lot purchased at the South Road Properties (SRP) for the construction of a mall in Seaside City.
City Hall also expects to collect business and real property taxes until year end.
The city government collected a total of P744 million as real property taxes in 2013.
CTO already collected P628 million from RPTs from January to September 2014, said Cuevas.
Mayor Rama submitted to the council his SB 2 amounting to P501.2 million in July.
SB 2 is to be funded from realignments from continuing appropriations – P2.2 million; reversion of accounts payable for year 2011 and below- P30.2 million; retained operating surplus for 2013 – P211. 3 million and unappropriated balance for 2014 – P257.5 million.
Budget committee members led by Councilor Margot Osmeña are holding a series of budget hearings with the LFC to discuss the budget proposal.
Councilors questioned the identification of P257.5 million in excess collection from this year’s business taxes as among the SB2 fund sources since the year is not yet over.
Last month, the mayor’s office submitted an amended version of SB 2, this time reducing the mayor’s budget request by P173.4 million.
To avoid a possible overdraft, the City Council reduced some more items in SB 2 by another P83.7 million.
Total reductions amounted to f P257.5 which corresponds the unappropriated 2014 taxes which councilors refused to consider as a funding source.
“After a series of discussions, the Local Finance Committee and the Committee on Budget and Finance agreed not to consider the fourth source of fund which is the unappropriated balance of CY 2014 amounting to P275.5 million,” said the budget committee report which Osmeña read during the council’s Wednesday morning session.
The approved SB2 includes:
– aid to city barangays – P141.4 million
– burial assistance program – P15 million
– building maintenance – P10 million
– road asphalting – P10 million, and
– travel expenses – P0.8 million among others.
Reduced items included the P25 million budget request of Mayor Rama for city-sponsored activities.
Osmena’s report said that a P40 million outlay for this was already included in the 2014 budget.
With barely three months left before the year ends, councilors only approved a P9.9 million additional budget for city-sponsored activities.
The council also gave only P30 million as additional appropriation for garbage tipping fees instead of the P40 million request from the executive department.
A budget request for traffic signalization was reduced from P27 million to P10 million.
Rafael Yap, Citom executive director, earlier told the city council during the budget hearing that before the year ends, Citom would start installing traffic lights in one intersection.
The two other intersections will be worked on next year with the inclusion of the P17 million balance in the 2015 budget.
Councilors, however, increased Rama’s budget request for maintenance for parks, plazas and monuments from P0.8 million to P1.6 million “to support Mayor Michael L. Rama in the city’s preparation for the coming Asia-Pacific Economic Conference on December.”
A bigger outlay of P10.3 million was also given for the Cebu City Environmental Sanitation Enforcement (CESET) which is larger than Rama’s budget request of P8.5 million.
Items not funded from SB2 include Task Force Kinabuhi -P10 million, motor vehicle outlay – P15 million and the renovation of the City Legal Office -P2.2 million.
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