City Council 'hard put' to balance budget

Guyana Chronicle
April 1, 2000

DEPUTY Mayor, Mr Robert Williams said yesterday that the City Council will not present a budget with a deficit.

Williams, who addressed a press conference shortly after an emergency meeting, said that cuts in expenditure in certain aspects of the authority's operation amount to only $500M.

However, even after such cuts, there will still be a budget deficit of $400M, Williams said.

"The City Council is hard put to arrive at a balanced budget," Williams told the media.

Budget discussions are focusing on the reduction of employment costs by $200M; capital works by $200M; vital equipment, $26M and other areas, $100M. Staff may be laid off and garbage collection reduced to once per week.

Williams said that the difference between the revenue they earn and expenditure is $900M. Further budget discussions are scheduled for Wednesday, he said.

The Deputy Mayor went on to observe that the President and three Government Ministers found the time to walk around certain parts of Georgetown, but could not meet with the City's administration as requested by the latter.

Williams was referring to President Bharrat Jagdeo's tour of Norton and Princes Streets on Wednesday afternoon.

"It's nice to say you are disbursing $15M for roads. But it is equally good for the Ministry of Finance to pay $16M in (outstanding) rates," Williams said.

And he wondered when the budgetary allocation of rates and taxes payments for City Hall will be disbursed.

Williams stressed that it is a legal requirement for the Government to pay taxes.

"It's not a handout. It's a statutory requirement."

City Hall may reduce its garbage collection from once weekly to once monthly, the Deputy Mayor said. (GWEN EVENLY)