Four days from today the Orange Walk Town Council, under the helms of Mayor Kevin Bernard, will complete two years of serving the people of Orange Walk Town. While the road has not been an easy one to travel, the council has done its best to keep up with its manifesto and financial obligations, meaning the paying off of certain debts they encountered when sworn into office.

 

One of those debts was an overdraft of $111,279.00 at the Belize Bank inherited from the previous UDP Town Council. With the overdraft in arrears, the town council has been unable to access that account and has been operating solely on its own revenues collected through taxes. But the council is known for being persistent and has come to an agreement with the Belize Bank to convert the overdraft into a loan.


Screen_Shot_2014-03-03_at_8.17.51_PMMayor Kevin Bernard- Orange Walk Town Council


“Prior to our meeting on Saturday, the council had a special discussion on the bank overdraft issue, we had to pass a resolution, in order to accept and what we had done as you know the overdraft stood at $111,000.00 when we got in and the balance of that overdraft currently stands at $69,100.00 and now we have agreed to convert that into a loan at 12% which will see us paying $5,683.26 for the next twelve months and that will settle the overdraft completely by the end of February 2015 so we would have settle that overdraft and that issue would be totally out of the hands of the Town Council, what I want to say however, is that by the time we would settle this depth in February the Council would have invested a little over $140,000.00 in that overdraft and those are monies that we believe could have been use for the infrastructure of our town and so we had to bear that burden and if you recall in October when we had issue with Belize Bank there were bullet payment that would require of $7,000.00 for October, November, December, in January they deducted a $6,000.00 plus and then just this Friday we had to pay $6,600.00 and so the rest is now being paid off at that $5,683.26.”


The council has also managed to reduce the social security and income tax debt also inherited from the previous UDP council.


Mayor Kevin Bernard- Orange Walk Town Council


“We also had the Social Security depth that stood at $72,000.00 and we have brought that down to $24,000.00 and the balance is been paid over a $2,000.00 a month period and that will be settled by February 2015 as well and our Income Tax depth we also had that depth if my figures are correct around $16,000.00 or so, we have reduce that depth as well and the less than $10,000.00 that is now due will be paid by the end of February 2015.  Now all this putting it together we are talking a little over $226,000.00 in depths, monies that we have to collect from our residences who are paying their taxes, all these monies instead of being reinvested in infrastructure had to go to service depths that we never did encounter and for us it is unfair but at the end of the day we are a council and a council is continuous and so we had to ensure that we carry on with those depths and pay off those depths, what I can guaranteed to the residence is that we are going to ensure that regardless of that we are going to continue to deliver the services to the people and we continue to ensure that we try to uplift our infrastructure little by little an so I always encourage residence to come in and to pay their taxes.”


We will have more of the Mayor’s interview further into the newscast.

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