City ‘can afford’ P200M budget

07/11/2010 - A CEBU City official yesterday assured constituents City Hall will have a surplus of at least P1 billion by Jan. 1, which Mayor Michael Rama can use to fund projects that cannot be implemented and completed this year.

Rep. Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City, south) said it is misleading to say the City does not have money to fund Rama’s P200-million supplemental budget (SB), because there are funds that can be realigned.

“The issue on the SB is misleading. That there is no money for it because I used all the money, is misleading. We don’t have to look for additional money, it’s just a matter of realigning some funds,” he said.

The former mayor pointed out this is the reason he did not touch the P153 million for barangay projects in the Local Development Fund (LDF), so the new mayor can use it to fund his projects.

Osmeña said the LDF and the P40 million intended for the rehabilitation of the rubberized oval of the Cebu City Sports Center can be realigned to fund Rama’s projects.

Rama is finalizing the fourth SB, which will amount to P200 million, to cover his projects in his first 100 days in office.

To be included in the SB is P20 million for the renovation of the Plaza Independencia, P30 million for the medical assistance program, P31 million for the asphalting of roads and P5 million for the renovation of the Executive Building’s ground floor, where Rama will hold office.

New sources

City Treasurer Ofelia Oliva earlier said the City won’t have problems funding its projects and services amounting to P2.6 billion for the remainder of the year, but the City doesn’t have new fund sources for the fourth SB.

“This year, we will have a surplus of more than P1 billion but unfortunately we cannot make a budget based on projections according to existing rules. It has to be actual collection. But by Jan. 1, Mayor Rama will have P1 billion that was earned this year, and he can use that to fund whatever it is that cannot be funded this year,” said Osmeña.

In a phone interview yesterday, the former mayor reacted to news reports about the SB and the issue on borrowing money so the rehabilitation of the oval can proceed, even as the City realigns the funds allocated for it.

He reiterated his recommendation for Rama to borrow from banks to get a certification on the availability of funds. (Sunstar)

Osmeña said the City does not have to withdraw the money from the bank. The loan will just be made to satisfy the requirement of the Commission on Audit and the City Treasurer’s Office on the availability of funds.

This will allow the City to realign the P40 million allocated for the oval, and at the same time bid out the project this year.

Since the replacement of the rubberized track will be finished next year yet, the City does not have to pay the contractor until January, at the earliest, and Rama will be able to tap the surplus funds by then for payment, the former mayor pointed out.

But in his press conference the other day, Rama made it clear he will not start his term with bank loans, since the City will still have to pay its loan obligations for the South Road Properties.

“All this talk about not having money, the mayor has to understand the situation… I know that he does not want to take out a loan, but well, I’m just saying he does have options. If he’s not clear on that, then at least I just want the people to know the situation,” Osmeña said

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