Community, Human Rights, Health

How does your municipality spend its budget and award work contracts?

Esta publicación también está disponible en: Español

The Voice of Guanacaste launched two interactive tools today that will allow people to analyze the budgets and the work contracts awarded by the municipalities of Nicoya, La Cruz, Limon, Puntarenas, San Carlos and Talamanca during the last decade. The tools will only be available in Spanish due to the huge amount of data involved.

Both spring from GuanaData, the data analysis project that monitors local governments, making it possible for you to identify which municipal budget categories have had a high use rate, which projects haven’t been completed or who the main municipal contracts have been awarded to since 2009.

The tools, based on information provided annually by the local governments themselves to the Comptroller General of the Republic (CGR), allowed Guanadata to identify stories about the municipalities’ budgets.

Analyze Your Municipality’s Budget

The Municipality of Puntarenas only used 65% of its budget in 2019, according to data from the CGR’s 2020 Public Budget Report. What budget categories weren’t used or had low use during that year?

Our tool can be used to answer that question. To do so, just select a municipality and choose a year to see its budget.

You’ll be able to see the categories that had low use or weren’t used at alI in yellow. It’s also possible to select a range of use. For example, you can ask the tool to show you only the categories for which between 0% and 50% was used (in other words, those categories where the municipality spent less than half of the budget it had allocated for a project).

As you can see, the tool also allows you to search based on keywords. Are you interested in a project to restore a park, build an aqueduct or pave a street? You can enter the words “parque” (park), “acueducto” (aqueduct), “calle” (street) or other synonyms to see the budget items that contain that word and find out how the budget has been used.

Identify Vendors and Providers

In Nicoya, one single company was awarded more than half of the budget for administrative contracts registered by the Comptroller General of the Republic in 2019. Do you want to know which company it was?

Select the year 2019 and the Municipality of Nicoya to see who the local government’s main providers are and how much money they have received. You can also select several years at the same time.

Did any particular vendor catch your attention? You can analyze contracts awarded to that vendor year by year. Enter the vendor’s name below, hit Enter and see how many contracts the vendor has received since 2007, and for how much money.

These tools have information for up to December 7, 2020, which comes from the CGR’s budget analysis and administrative contracting databases.

What Can You Find With These Tools?

Compiling and analysing the public data contained in these tools allowed GuanaData to put together an extensive list of stories and reports.

For example, GuanaData identified that the Municipality of Talamanca extinguished hope for the only suicide prevention program in a community where the suicide rate was triple the national rate, and that the Municipality of Puntarenas and its administrations didn’t use budgets for 15 bridges in the last 7 years.

GuanaData also identified that the Municipality of Nicoya has been carrying over a budget for the construction of a cemetery for eight years, that the mayor of Limón has promised an Ebais clinic exclusively for the elderly during three electoral campaigns, and that the Municipality of La Cruz has had a budget to build an aqueduct since 2009 that would allow a community of more than 200 people to have safe drinking water.

The purpose of these tools is to allow you to find your own stories, ask your local governments why budget items that interest you haven’t been completed, or observe which companies are the main ones that your municipality has selected when awarding work contracts in the canton.

Why Are Only Six Cantons Included?

GuanaData is a journalistic investigation and data analysis project of The Voice of Guanacaste. Since 2017, GuanaData has analyzed the public budgets of the cantons of Santa Cruz, Liberia, Cañas and Bagaces, and in 2020, it was proposed to analyze those of Nicoya, La Cruz, Limón, Puntarenas, San Carlos and Talamanca.

In selecting these cantons, a number of factors were taken into account, such as the canton’s development index, the amount of funds received by each of the municipalities or the level of visibility and representation that these communities traditionally have in the media.

This project is possible thanks to the support of the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ).