Screen_Shot_2014-12-16_at_5.20.26_PMMembers of the Mayor’s Association held their monthly meeting in Orange Walk Town today. While most of the discussions surrounded municipal projects and best practices, there was one subject of utmost importance to the association – the Municipal Bill. In the Bill, the Mayors are trying to incorporate the Belmopan City Council Act, the Belize City Council Act and the Town Councils Act into one. The work begun years ago, since 2009 and members of the Association continue to make modifications to the recommendations. President of the Association, Simeon Lopez and Orange Walk Town Mayor Kevin Bernard weighed in more on the work.

Simeon Lopez – President, Mayors Association

“Four or five of them that are points that we need to iron out and on January 14th of next year which is just about a month away a task force which has been appointed this morning which is to consider these point and to make recommendations to be presented and to be presented to the minister we will meet in Belmopan to make sure that we try to get this going before our term expires.”

Kevin Bernard – OW Mayor

“This bill was drafted on the basis of the national local government policy that was approved many years ago by the cabinet, I think it is way back in 2009 when that bill was actually approved but what this municipality bill will do for the municipality in the case of Orange Walk like I said is to give you that autonomy, there are things that we are looking at, for example currently the Orange Walk Town Council is seeking to raise a municipal bond, under the current Town Council Act we cannot do that that is the reason why we are saying with this new municipality bill the borrowing powers will be extended to all other municipalities while currently only the Belize City Council and Belmopan City Council have that option, this will be afforded to all municipalities of course it has to go through certain processes where the final approval has to come from the Prime Minister but at the end of the day it gives us that autonomy to be able to seek these types of investments and so we could move this town forward at the same time I think the municipal bill seeks to justify or rectify some issues like we have in terms of appointed board, like the liquor license board, the trade license board where in some point like the trade license board the Mayor selects the trade license board while under the liquor license board we make recommendation and sometime they are not accepted and then the minister makes changes without consultation so we are trying to say with the municipal bill let these responsibilities lye under the municipality because we have to face thee things on a daily basis and so that would help us to be able to put more control as well when issuing out liquor licenses to establishments and so I am very hopeful.”

The members of the Association believe that a uniformed document that governs all municipalities will be of greater benefit compared to the current acts.

Simeon Lopez – President, Mayors Association

“To increase efficiency and accountability because when we have three separate axe then each section operates on its own but if we have one bill to cover all nine municipalities then we work in tandem with one and other and we can even share our experiences and our best practices in a more uniform fashion.”

The Association members hope to have the document ready and approved before the end of their term in February next year.

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