Cebu City’s budget still short of P1.9 B

Posted on October 20, 2012

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CEBU City has so far collected P3.5 billion in revenue to fund its P5.4 billion budget this year, the Cebu City Treasurer’s Office said.

Acting City Treasurer Emma Villarete said the collections could still increase to P4 billion after the city collects fourth quarter payments for real property and business taxes.

In 2011, the city fell short of its P4.8 billion collection target by P1.2 billion.

Villarete told the City Council in last Thursday’s hearing of the proposed Supplemental Budget II that her office only raised P3.6 billion last year.

She said revenue collection also fell short of projected targets in the 2011 budget.

Villarete cited as an example the actual earnings from sales of government lots at P638 million, way below the P1.1 billion target.

Councilor Margot Osmeña, budget committee chairperson asked Villarete if the shortfall occurred because of “over-budgeting.”

Villarete said she couldn’t respond but assured that the shortfall didn’t affect the city’s finances because actual expenditures only reached P3.5 billion.

“While it is true that we did not reach our target estimates, it must noted that we always come up with high targets. We do not also exceed our projected expenses for the years resulting in savings,” Villarete said.

Councilor Jose Daluz III dismissed fears raised by Councilor Alvin Arcilla that collection shortages could result in non-implementation of some projects.

Daluz said projects listed in the Annual Investment Plan (AIP) that are funded from the Local Development Fund (LDF) is a continuing appropriation and could still be implemented next year.

Mayor Michael Rama submitted a proposed P6.7 billion budget for next year.

It no longer includes master plans for the South Road Properties, traffic management, coastline management, downtown and uptown which he requested in his 2012 executive budget.

The proposed budget focuses on infrastructure. Asphalting and road concreting make up a big chunk at P100 million each.

The largest item remains P230 million for loan payments for the reclamation of the South Road Properties (SRP).

Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young voiced displeasure over the proposed budget which cut the council’s funding by P6.7 million.

He said the budget has zero outlays for their consultancy, advertising and supplies expenses.

Association of Barangay Councils president Michael Ralota also lamented cuts in the ABC’s budget as well as Sanguniang Kabataan (SK) Federation which saw its P5.6 million budget this year cut to only P2 million next year. /Edison delos Angeles, Correspondent with Chief of Reporters Doris C. Bongcac

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