Huge chunks to be cut from Rama’s budget

By: Doris C. Bongcac December 12,2014 - 02:48 AM

Spend within your means.

The chairperson of the Cebu City Council budget committee sent  this message to City Hall as she revealed yesterday that the P18.9 billion budget being pushed by the administration of Mayor Michael Rama would likely be approved with chunks getting chopped off.

“The mayor presented a humongous budget, but we cannot approve it all.  We have to consider how much the city is capable of raising.  This year alone, the city treasurer already said that she will not be able to raise the entire amount of P5.8 billion,” Councilor Margot Osmeña, chairman of the committee on budget and finance, told Cebu Daily News.

She said the councilors have agreed during their series of meetings not to consider the executive department’s proposal to allow the city government to borrow P3.1 billion from domestic sources to fund the 2015 budget.

Osmeña, however, would not say how much the City Council would approve.

She said she will present the committee’s findings on the proposed budget in their Dec. 17 session.

The City Council has until Dec. 31 to act on the 2015 budget.

Osmeña assured that “basic expenses” like allocations for personal services and maintenance and other operating expenses will be prioritized.

She said the councilors would most likely defer action on some  City Hall  proposed programs and capital outlays until  additional funding sources are identified.

The Rama administration earlier said that to fund the P18.9 billion budget, they  intend to sell real property to raise P10.8 billion, borrow locally (P3.1 billion), collect taxes (P2.8 billion), internal revenue allotment (IRA) share (P1.4 billion), non-tax revenues (P770 million) and share in joint ventures (P50 million).

OIC City Treasurer Diwa Cuevas said they have so far collected P4.6 billion of the targeted P5.8 billion for this year.

She remains uncertain if they could still recover a  P1.2 billion shortfall by yearend.

“We have to keep that in mind.  That has been the case since 2011.  It’s been the same story,”Osmeña told CDN.

Councilors called for  marathon budget hearings with different department heads early this month.

Osmeña said she also met with the councilors, including those allied with Rama, to discuss the budget for next year.

The latest was held on Monday.

“I thank the department heads because most of them gave us a detailed breakdown of their budget request.  The councilors also had their own say during our meetings.  I asked for their inputs before we present the 2015 budget to the executive,” she added.

Osmeña said her office staffers  are now  “putting together” all inputs from the budget hearing and her meetings with councilors to finalize the 2015 budget ordinance.

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TAGS: budget, Cebu City, Mayor Michael Rama

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