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Nosara’s Autonomy at a Crossroads
• Contraloría denies budget authority to the existing municipal councils
• Elected representative, Marco Ávila, set on achieving Nosara’s autonomy from Nicoya’s Municipalidad

By Emiliana Garcia

Although the Contraloría General de la República ordered that, starting July 1st, 2011, all income from district councils must go to the Municipalidades, elected representative, Marco Ávila, insists that Nosara must become an autonomous district that can manage itself.

The Contraloría’s decision is based on a ruling issued by the Sala IV in 2006, where it states that the Municipal District Councils (Consejos Municipales de Distrito) “have functional autonomy with the purpose of using basic management tools to function efficiently, with a certain degree of organizational freedom from the Municipalidad to which they are affiliated; however, they lack any other type of autonomy and legal personality and are subject to a subordinate relationship in budget, regulations and government matters”.

In an interview published by the VON in its January issue, Ávila stated that one of his main projects is for Nosara to have its own Municipal District Council.

These councils may be established if a town is located far away from the Municipalidad to which it belongs. Nosara is 60 kilometers (approximately 37 miles) away from Nicoya (out of which 30 kilometers must be traveled over a gravel road) and many of its residents have expressed their dissatisfaction with the Municipalidad’s response to common issues such as the garbage disposal and the area’s roads.

The Project is Not Cancelled.
When asked if the Contraloria’s decision changes his plans in any way, Ávila explained “We are going to wait and see how the existing Municipal Councils respond. If they ask for the council’s law to be changed in order to continue working as councils and are not successful, then we will move ahead to obtain our canton”.

However, Ávila added that doing this, which would mean that Nosara would be a new municipal canton, instead of a Council that belongs to Nicoya’s Municipalidad-, “is harder because we would have to negotiate with legislators from political parties opposed to Liberación Nacional. But if the Asamblea Legislativa approves it (the process of becoming a canton) it should go through quickly”.

On the other hand the head of the Ministerio de Descentralización, Juan Marín, has declared himself in favor of the resolution issued by the regulatory entity, explaining, “For now we must comply with it.” When asked about the possibility of Nosara becoming a canton, Marín answered “For 15 years we’ve had four other projects like this one at the Asamblea Legislativa and they’ve made no progress. It will be very difficult”.

According to Marín, in order for Nosara to establish a Municipal Council or become a canton, it will depend largely on the income that it generates. “If it has sufficient income to support the structure, then it becomes an important figure, even with this limitation (the Contraloria). Budget limits for any district are of approximately 500 million colones, since 30% of resources are needed just for investing in the administrative system and other public works. If this was not the case we would (just) have a bureaucratic organ that would not be of any benefit for the community”.

Nosara generates the second largest income in the canton, after Nicoya and before Sámara. The VON inquired as to the reported amount and percentage that were collected in 2009. The newspaper was told by staff at the Municipalidad that the information was unavailable.

Marco Ávila is taking a tough stance on the issue, insisting that for many years Nosara has been abandoned by Nicoya’s Municipalidad. “This decision makes no sense”. Ávila will have six years as representative to achieve his goal, whether it is to establish a Municipal District Council or to turn Nosara into a canton.


More Regional News

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A truck knocked down three telephone poles in Playa Garza on Monday 14 February. The accident occurred around noon in front of Alexis fish market. More >

Municipality of Nicoya Inaugurates New Mayor

Beginning Monday, February 7, Marcos Jiménez, officially took office as Mayor of the Municipality of Nicoya. The solemn ceremony for the change of leadership started at 2 p.m. in the city’s Central Park. Over the next five years, Jimenez will be responsible for the management of the Council budget which currently totals more than ¢2,500 million colones ($5 million). More >

Samara scrambles to keep police in town

On January 14th, the Nicoya Ministry of Health issued a notice to the Samara delegation of the Public Force to move out of the Samara police facility by February 2. Although the public force requested a 3-month extension to remain in the current Samara Facility, the Ministry of Health decided not to grant the extension, leaving people scrambling to figure out how to keep police presence in Samara. More >

Neighbors Take on Vice Mayor
over Burning at Buena Vista Beach

On Friday, January 14, neighbors of Esterones of Samara were frightened as flames flared up along Buena Vista Beach. Davina Pritchard, who lives near the beach, received a frantic phone call from neighbor Elizabeth Jenkins informing her that the beach was on fire. More >

Asada Playas de Nosara Water Board Must Cut $5000 per Month to Meet Crisis
• Workers Agree to Pay Cuts

The water company for the American Project (ASADA) has asked its six employees to take a pay cut 25% of their salary beginning in February. The move is part of the ASADA’s effort to manage with decreased revenues while seeking regulatory approval for a higher rate schedule and impact fees for new project water hookups. More >

School Year for Nicoya Students Starts with School Closure
• Ministry of Health recommends demolition
• Students will take classes at University of San Jose

On February 10, when the first day of classes begins for this school year, the nearly 1,000 students of Leonidas Briceño Baltodano School of Nicoya will find their school building closed. The Constitutional Court has ordered the Ministries of Health and Education to take measures to protect the safety of the student community. More >

Change in Nosara District Police Headquarters
Tourist Police Turn Lead Over to Nicoya

On Thursday, January 13th, the Nosara district police headquarters were turned over to Nicoya’s Fuerza Publica, no longer being a part of Guiones’ Tourist Police, as it had been since November, 2009. More >

Tourists at beaches will continue without public bathrooms
• Constitutional Court indicated that municipalities should satisfy needs
• Ministry of Decentralization argues that there isn’t space for construction along maritime shoreline

The beaches of Guanacaste that tend to receive thousands of visitors at the end and beginning of the year don’t have sanitary toilets or public bathrooms. The municipalities of the cantons that have coastline such as Carillo, Nicoya, Nandayure and Hojancha have not resolved this lack of infrastructure. More >

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