The Municipality of Nicoya has taken the first step towards the creation of a Municipal District Council (MDC) in Nosara, as more than 250 residents of the community signed on to the project.
Both the municipality’s legal department and the municipal council’s legal advisor, Alexander Gutierrez, confirmed the move during the council’s session on Monday, August 25.
According to article 2 of the General Municipal District Council Law, in order to form an MDC, a request must be made by at least 250 residents of the community. In Nosara’s case, Gutierrez reported that the petition was signed by 1783 people.
In addition, the councilors approved the creation of a municipal committee charged with establishing the rules to carry out the general referendum on the subject of Nosara’s MDC.
The committee is made up of council members Ana Lizeth Espinoza, Carlos Medina, Farith Granados, Mario Ondoy and Rodolfo Orozco, who are in charge of drawing up the regulations that will allow the canton’s residents to decide whether Nosara can have its own autonomy.
Every municipal council is obligated to create regulations to carry out referendums, according to the Supreme Election Tribunal (TSE – Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones) manual for holding popular votes at the district and canton level. To establish an MDC, such as the one being proposed in Nosara, it is necessary to hold a referendum in which at least 13% of Nicoya’s electorate would have to vote, according to municipal rules.
For his part, Alexander Gutierrez explained that, “Creating the rules will take time; we have to look for experience from other cases in which they’ve done this kind of process, and with those experiences perhaps we can ease the [process of] creating the regulations.”
Marcos Avila, Nosara’s syndic, was very satisfied by the approval of the petition and said that there will be collaboration with the committee to offer information to the councilors about the procedures established by the TSE.
“I am very happy with the first step; I thank the legal advisor for the mayor’s office and the municipal council, because everything has been done to the letter of the law. We are going to provide information from the Supreme Election Tribunal so they [councilors] can be confident about what they’re going to do and so everything will be correct,” he stated.
Avila estimated that the regulations could be ready between two and three weeks. Once they are created, they will be reviewed by the TSE and published in the official daily La Gaceta.
Municipal District Councils (MDC) are bodies with their own autonomy, assigned to the municipality in their respective canton. MDCs are able to receive municipal fees, such as those for permits, fines or taxes.