On Monday, March 24, the members of Nicoya’s Municipal Council evaluated a possible increase in the price rates for the canton’s waste disposal service. They also considered a report from an internal audit done by the municipality regarding a 2012 traffic accident that involved a council member.
Iraida Solorzano, in charge of the municipal finance department, presented a proposal to increase the rates for trash collection by 5.51%, based on the latest Consumer Price Index (IPC – Índice de Precios al Consumidor).
That would mean that residential customers that pay 8,758 ($17.52) colones would pay 9,278 colones ($18.56) per trimester.
The official explained to the councilors that since 2012, the municipality has not increased prices for trash collection and that the proposed rates would generate ₡13 million ($26,000) in revenue for the local government.
In response, the councilors decided to evaluate the proposal in the environmental committee to determine whether or not to proceed with the increase.
Next came a report by the municipal auditor, Gilberto Lizano, who presented the results of an investigation done by his department regarding a traffic accident involving Councilor Juan Edwin Yockchen Mora, who was driving a municipal vehicle to San Jose on September 5, 2012.
The report concluded that “there was damage” done to the municipal vehicle by Yockchen Mora, and found him “guilty to driving in a way contrary to traffic laws,” as he drove with an expired license.
The cost of repairs for the vehicle was 4,352,603 colones ($8,705), which was covered by the vehicle’s insurance policy.
In his defense, Yockchen Mora explained that the accident happened while he was working for the municipality. “I was going to the Comptroller’s office in San Jose to process documents regarding the municipal budget, the closure of the dump, and repairs to environmental department machinery.”
In addition, the councilor pointed out that the circumstances surrounding the accident were exceptional, as the accident on the highway involved multiple vehicles and happened the morning of the earthquake on September 5. “I wasn’t alone in hitting a vehicle from behind. Instead, there were several simultaneous accidents involving other vehicles, resulting from the movement that was happening [on the highway] due to the earthquake,” explained Yockchen.
Yockchen Mora took responsibility for the accident and for driving with a license that at the moment had been expired for two days. Regardless, he mentioned that several members of the council and the municipal auditor wanted to “demonize” his cause and make it seem worse than it is.
The majority of the councilors approved sending the auditor’s report to the judicial matters committee.