This coming September will mark three years since the Nicoya earthquake, which forced the Municipality of Santa Cruz to leave the Municipal Palace. However, there is still no definite plan to build a new building or to repair the old building.
Currently, the municipality has to rent three buildings: one for the mayor’s office, one for services and one for storage purposes. These leases represent a monthly sum of ¢1,908,549.79 (about $3,601) for rent.
According to Mario Moreira, director of the finance department, the municipality must pay ¢22,902,597.50 (about $43,212) annually, an amount that represents 0.32% of the actual income received during the year 2014.
To Moreira, the rental cost is low when compared with the benefit of the real estate. However, he affirmed that this income could be invested in other projects.
“Those who make the decisions have not defined at this point, two years after the earthquake, whether they are going to repair the building or build another, and in the mean time the rent payments that came about to provide a ‘temporary’ solution now dominate the stage of municipal operations,” Moreira wrote by email.
For his part, Mayor Jorge Chavarria affirmed that no project will be presented until the study of seismic vulnerability for the old Municipal Palace is done.
Nevertheless, last February, members of the Institute of Municipal Promotion and Consultation (IFAM) presented two quotes to the municipal council. The first proposal was for the repair of the old municipal building, which would cost ¢1,278,859,680 ($2,412,942), while the second assesses the option of building a completely new building, with a cost of ¢2,723,677,400 ($5,139,013).
In light of this situation, Honorio Guadamuz, a municipal council member who is a member of the special commission for the building, reported during the municipal session on February 24 that the commission proposed to build a new building where the environmental department is located, in the center of Santa Cruz.
In addition, the commission requested that the mayor give instructions to the land registry department to draw up the respective plans with a deadline of March 31. The mayor was also asked to begin bank procedures for possible financing.
Overcrowding in the Municipal Building
After some users complained about the services platform building facilities, located in Buenos Aires of Santa Cruz, the Ministry of Health shut down the building on February 24th due to not having the necessary measures.
The mayor explained that the mayor’s office and the Buenos Aires employees will move to Hotel El Marino, which has 17 rooms that will be used as offices and a restaurant that will be used as an employee lunchroom.
As of the close of this edition on February 25, the cost of renting the hotel and the date when employees will start to work in El Marino were still unknown.