Almost five years after being elected by the people, only three of the seven district council members for the district of Nosara have met with the syndic about 11 times, and they have approved eight projects for specific budget items, as recorded in the minutes presented by the syndic, Marcos Avila.
Avila affirms that compared to other districts of Nicoya, the district council achieved a lot.
Since 2010, Nosara, like all districts of Costa Rica, elected a district council represented by a syndic, a substitute syndic and seven council members, whose duty is to be the voice of the people before the Municipal Council of Nicoya and to manage projects.
Currently the district council is represented by the syndic, Marcos Avila, the substitute syndic, Betsy Chavarria, primary council members Danilo Montero, Adilsa Fajardo, Luis Alberto Arrieta and Luz Marina Cordero, and substitute council members Silvia Carrillo, Orlando Arrieta and Javier Gomez.
What Has the Council Achieved?
The specific budget items that the council has processed through the Municipality of Nicoya include buying 98 fans for all of the schools in Nosara in 2012, delivering six pumps to each ASADA in the district and the agreement to purchase land for a nursing home in April of 2012.
They also succeeded in buying two motorcycles for the Public Force of the district of Nosara in 2012, building the multipurpose hall at the Bocas de Nosara High School in 2014, building the Sinem School and buying instruments for the Sinem music school.
These projects were approved by the district council; however, they were executed by the Nosara Integral Development Association (ADIN), of which Avila is president.
How Often Do They Meet?
The Voice called each of the council members, who said they have not held meetings for more than a year and reported that they were never called to meetings.
However, in an interview with Avila on Saturday, December 27th, when council members Danilo Montero, Adilsa Fajardo and Luz Marina Cordero were also present, they affirmed that the last meeting was held on May 14th and stated that during this period they have met 11 times. The Voice had access to the meeting minutes, which show the signatures of the council members, and during the first few years, some council members attended sporadically.
When asked why only three council members were present at meetings, Avila explained that each council member is called by telephone to attend meetings and that the others choose not to come because “they are not interested in helping with the canton.” Furthermore the syndic showed The Voice some letters to council members who haven’t attended meetings in more than a year to remind them to participate.
Those Who Do Not Meet with the Council
The substitute syndic, Betsy Chavarria, stated that she has never received any invitation to council meetings.
“I do not sit around with my arms crossed, waiting to be called. For my community, Garza, I have worked on projects directly with representatives of the Presidential House, and for the district, I work through other organizations with the Nosara Leadership Forum,” she said.
Council member Luis Alberto Arrieta also attributed his absence from sessions to lack of communication with the syndic. “I think the last time I met was more than a year ago. I don’t remember anymore. They really don’t call me to the meetings.”
Javier Gomez, who was president of ADIN before Avila, said,
“I have a negative view of how things are handled, which has caused me to distance myself. Everything is a lot of politics and sometimes you don’t know when the meetings are for ADIN or for the council. I think they get mixed a lot.”
For her part, Silvia Carrillo explained that she hasn’t received a call for the sessions since the Nosara fiestas at the beginning of 2014.
“They haven’t called me for more than a year. I have tried to communicate, but I don’t know if Marcos changed his number. Anyway, I think the council is like swimming against the current because Marcos is the one who makes the decisions,” she said.
The Voice tried to get a response from council member Orlando Arrieta, but neither the syndic nor the council members had his phone number.
What Should the District Council Do, According to the Municipal Code?
– Propose to the Municipal Council beneficiaries for scholarships, housing grants and food assistance.
– Recommend to the Municipal Council the order of priorities for implementing public works in the district.
– Propose to the Municipal Council how to use other public resources for the district.
– Report twice a year to the municipality of the canton to which they belong regarding the use of resources allocated to the district, as well as the status of executing projects.