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The Municipalidad Facing a ¢140 million deficit struggles to complete construction works

By Oliver Pérez

Purchase of land for Nicoya's cementery will be one of the proyects sacrificed in order to adjust the budget.
The maintenance of the streets could be affected by the deficit

Nicoya’s Municipalidad is currently struggling with a 140 million colones deficit in the 2009 budget which has the municipality scurrying to find a solution. The deficit was reported, back in April, to the Concejo Municipal (Municipal Council) by the Municipalidad’s Internal Auditing Department, which explained to the Council the difficult financial situation that the Institution is facing.

The current situation has forced the municipal administration to readjust the previously planned investment in construction works for this year. Apparently, the Institution ended the previous year with such a deficit, because of an increase in expenses and not because the money was wrongfully taken. Now they are struggling to face their many obligations.

The Municipalidad has two accounts: one for specific money that is already assigned and cannot be used for other expenses, and one for unassigned money that can thereby be used as needed. In this case, the Institution used specific resources for municipal expenses, -- money that should have not been used in that way and therefore, the amount reflected in the deficit. Now the Contraloría General de la República (National Comptroller’s Office) has ordered the Institution to find the needed to close the deficit.

According to the Contraloría General de la República, not only has the Municipalidad been carrying the ¢140 million colones deficit but, in addition, by December 31st, 2009, taxpayer’s debts had amounted to almost ¢700 million colones. Nicoya’s taxpayers have owed the Municipalidad this sum of money in property taxes, garbage pickup services and operation licenses for a number of years.

As a result, now they must cut back on the money that was to be used for various projects of the Institution. They planned to remodel parks, repair roads and bridges, improve public services and install sewers, among other public works.

Nicoya’s Mayor, Luis Eduardo Gutiérrez Rosales, explained to the VON that this occurred because the expected income did not match up with actual revenues and therefore, now they must find a way to lessen the deficit’s impact. In order to do so, the first project that will be affected is the purchase of a property on which they planned to build a cemetery, and for which 120 million colones had been budgeted. They are desperately seeking a loan that will allow them to go on with the project.

“Although we are aware that we are facing a difficult situation, we are certain that we will pull through with our budget forecasts. Even though the Controller’s Office reduced our budget for this year, since they approved 300 million colones, we’ve had to adjust and tighten things up in order to face this situation without affecting the area’s residents,” the Mayor explained, adding that they are currently looking at several options to obtain the necessary funds without affecting their own employees.

One of the options, which was recommended in the Internal Auditing Department’s report, so that the resident’s quality of life won’t be diminished as a result of taking small “chunks” out of the works budget to close the deficit, would be to set their sights on those who have pending tax payments and to try and collect them.

In regards to the recovery of the pending debts, the Mayor explained that they will be holding a campaign to encourage people to go to the Municipalidad and work out a payment arrangement. In addition, during a six-month term that will begin on August 11th, the Municipalidad will grant a tax amnesty so that taxpayers will be able to pay their taxes owing without paying interest.

More Regional News

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Fire at the Mini Súper Delicias del Mundo
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Guiones – On Wednesday, August 4th, at 11:20 p.m. Manuel Pérez, an employee of a construction site located across from the Mini Súper Delicias del Mundo, heard the supermarket alarm system go off. Half and hour later, he saw the smoke. More >

Celebration of Nicoya’s Anexión
President Laura Chinchilla made promises to the Nicoyanos

Nicoya’s Municipalidad is currently struggling with a 140 million colones deficit in the 2009 budget which has the municipality scurrying to find a solution. The deficit was reported, back in April, to the Concejo Municipal (Municipal Council) by the Municipalidad’s Internal Auditing Department, which explained to the Council the difficult financial situation that the Institution is facing. More >

INS’s 2002 Donation for Schools is Still Missing
• Donation amounted to almost ¢41 million colones
• The Asociación de Juegos Deportivos Nacionales was the organization responsible for financing

Nicoya’s Colegio Agropecuario and the Escuela de San Martín are still waiting for the almost ¢41 million colones donation that was made by the Instituto Nacional de Seguros (INS) in 2002 for the improvement of their sports facilities. More >

Serapio López Fajardo School in Nosara has problems with the school board
Municipalidad Removes President of Nosara’s
Education Board

The Concejo Municipal (Municipal Council) unanimously voted to remove Juan José López Castillo, President of the Junta de Educación (Education Board) of the Escuela Serapio López in Nosara, from office due to apparent financial anomalies that took place during his time in office. More >

Interview with Juan José “Adonai” López Castillo, Former President of the Education Board of the Escuela Serapio López
“I have all the Bills and Receipts for what was Purchased”

Is it true that Orlando Villarreal donated one million colones to the Education Board?
Yes. First, he wrote a check payable to the Board of Nosara but, as you know, there is no Board of Nosara, only a Board of Education. Since we were unable to cash the check my fellow Board member, Eraida Matarrita (Vocal 1), and I went looking for Orlando in order to explain that the check could not be cashed. More >

Interview with Zulay Salas Valenciano, Nicoya’s Regional Director for the MEP

Did you advise that Juan José López Castillo be dismissed?
There was an investigation done by the Supervising Adviser, Damaris Díaz Hernández, and its results indicated that a replacement should be requested by the Municipalidad, which is the entity that appoints the Juntas de Educación (Education Boards) members, so the file was sent and they made the resolution. More >

PLN, ML, PUSC and PAC Have Elected Their Candidates for Nicoya’s Mayor Elections

Four political parties have their candidates ready so that, on December 6th, the Nicoyanos will be able to elect their next Mayor, who will be in charge of the Municipalidad during the next six years. More >

US Consul visit in Nosara
Consul General to crowd: Fight crime together

The crowd couldn’t wait to vent. Before Paul Birdsall, Consul General of the U.S. Embassy to Costa Rica, could get out his thoughts on deterring crime, the crowd erupted with a litany of frustrations about the thefts and burglaries taking place in this coastal tourist town. More >

Interview with Grecy Castrillo Hernandez – Nicoya’s OIJ Operations Coordinator
“Crime in Nosara is not violent”

Has there been a rise in crime rates in Nosara?
Yes, whenever there is a growth in tourism, there is also a growth in delinquency.

According to Jason Vargas, Chief of Nosara’s Tourist Police, during the past nine months crime rates have not increased. Do you agree?
Yes, and not only did it not increase but it even decreased, not drastically, but we are aware that it has decreased.
More >




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