For the past two weeks CTV-3 has been reporting on a crisis at the Orange Walk Town Hall. We say crisis because the Council is absolutely broke and simply unable to do any major work in the community. Mayor Phillip de la Fuente himself said so, and if that’s not a crisis then we don’t know what is.
Phillip de la Fuente – Mayor
“As you know all machineries work on fuel and if you don’t have the money to purchase the fuel well then you have to make adjustments so right now we are not doing much of the work that we had anticipated but we are still getting our basic work done like picking up the garbage and chopping of the areas. So work is getting one the only thing is that we can’t do is the advance work like the preparing of the streets and grading of the streets we had to cut back on those.”
Thanks to a helpful source inside Town Hall, our newsroom managed to get hold of the council financials for the past two months, so tonight we can verify that the Mayor was not lying…in fact, if anything, he was understating the facts. The Council, in the months of May and June, is actually operating with a deficit – meaning that in those two months more was spent than was received.
Tonight we start with a breakdown of the May figures in a nutshell. In that month, the Council spent $10,732.43 more than it received.
The income of the Council is broken down into different sources – for example property taxes, traffic fees, trade license fees, liquor license fees, repayment of loans and subventions from central government. In May, as you can see here, the total income for the Council was $165,357.78.
Now from what we’ve heard that seems to be a pretty respectable income for the month…but then we look at another category and suddenly we can see why the Council is broke.
In this section entitled personal emoluments, expenses like salaries, wages, overtime wages, allowances, gratuity/pensions and vacation grants are listed.
As you can see here, in May the Council paid out $29,985.76 in salaries and $58,651.00 in wages. In allowances alone, the Council paid $8600…in gratuities and pensions $4100 and in vacation grants $800. In personal emoluments alone, in just the month of May, the Council paid out a whopping $102,161.76. Keep in mind that these figures haven’t been broken down – so we have no idea who received $8600 worth of allowances in one month. We also don’t know the breakdown of the wages for office staff, though the monthly figure look astronomical for seven office workers.
There are some other interesting figures, but we thought at this point we’d do some comparison – now remember, in the month of May the Council paid out more than $102,000 in personal emoluments. Compare that to this row of figures which refers to maintenance work done around town – in other words, work which the Council was voted in to do. As you can see, in May the Council spent a grand total of $270 to maintain parks and playgrounds in Orange Walk Town. To maintain the market, the Council spent the whopping sum of $47.25 and to maintain drains and culverts all over town the Council spent $108.50. Just to draw a further example, the amount paid for the Mayor’s telephone bill for the month of May was more than three times what was spent on drains and culverts.
Like we said, it’s a lot of figures – a lot of very interesting and incredible figures which tell a tale of a Council which seems to have been almost criminally mismanaged. We’ll have much more for you in tomorrow’s newscast.