The Legislative Assembly sends nearly ¢40 million annually to Santa Cruz’s coffers. The monies are to be used for communal projects, which are known as specific line items. Do you know where these funds end up?
According to an analysis of Santa Cruz’s municipal budgets performed by La Voz de Guanacaste, from 2010 to 2016 the districts presented 145 projects to obtain specific budgetary line items. Of those, 33 asked for money for improvements in schools, 32 for community centers, and eight for churches.
The rest asked for funds for aqueducts, parks, and other improvements in infrastructure in those communities.
The trend continues in 2017. The ¢37 million in the budget are earmarked for nine community projects, four school-centered projects, and two for church improvements.
William Huertas, planner for the Municipality of Santa Cruz, explained that representatives may propose a line item for any project that a district’s council has made a priority for the community.
The amount set aside for each district is based on the canton’s size, population, and poverty level.
What Is A Priority?
The Municipal Code and the Specific Line Item Control Law allow local district councils to decide which projects they want to support.
These councils must include development associations and neighborhoods that are not represented by a town councilor, said Carlos Acuña, president of the Municipal Council.
“It is difficult for the State to know communities well, especially rural ones. That’s why the representatives are so important. They really know the communities and should know what their needs are,” said Acuña.
The representative for the district of Santa Cruz, Arcadio Carrera, explained that the council has given priority to projects that include the entire community in order to create a greater sense of belonging.
How can I control the execution of specific line items in my neighborhood?
- Make sure the district council already knows how much money the district will receive. Council members and representatives will know by the second week of March every year at the latest.
- Make sure that the district council has sent in projects asking for specific lines by June 1st.
- Request minutes from the district council to corroborate that they have presented the agreed-upon projects.
- Visit the department of Municipal Planning to be clear on when the project will be carried out.