April 08, 2009

The Belize City Council held its first public meeting last night at City Hall. Love News spoke with Mayor Zenaida Moya who told us she is satisfied with the turnout and participation of the public. Mayor Moya said she presented the statement of revenue and expenditure for the financial year just ended.

Zenaida Moya; Belize City Mayor
“What was reported is that for the period April 2008 to March 2009 for recurrent revenue we collected $15,724,860. This is compared to what we had estimated which is close to 18 million dollars so there was a short fall in terms of actual recurrent revenue. As it pertains to the recurrent expenditure for the period April 2008 to March 2009 we had an actual expenditure of $15,810,328. This is as compared to the estimate that we had which was $17,489,808. So as you can see while we did collect less for revenues we also ensured that we spent less in terms of actual expenditures. So I think that it was a give and take situation; we are hoping that this year we will be able to really strengthen on collections while continuing to on our streamlining of operations.”

Mayor Moya said a number of issues were brought up including the condition of streets, drains and of course garbage.

Zenaida Moya; Belize City Mayor
“We are trying to work on that in a collaborative manner with the community and I know that councilor Willoughby has hit the ground running as it pertains to dealing with sanitation and working with the community. We have already been out there been working in the Mesopotamia Division. We also had residents form yesterday in Queen Square who we told that we will be moving their neighborhood next. There are areas where we really need to have additional focus on to bring them to a level that we are satisfied with. Clearly the respective contractors are a part of what we are doing. Our last clean up campaign had the participation of Belize Waste Control Limited which is a good thing because we do want to have an amicable relationship with most contractors really. They have already been forthcoming and I think it is going to be a positive thing ultimately for the residents. We also discussed some of the traffic concerns because the people had that again the number of taxes that are out there. I can recall two persons in the audience bringing up the fact that you cannot get marking. To them it feels as if parking is only for taxis. That is an issue that we will have to deal with in an amicable manner. Councilor Wayne Usher and his team will be meeting with the different taxi unions, associations and corporative. Just to try and make sure that everything works our right for them and the residents. Again issues like those are still factors that we have to deal with. Ultimately we have over 40 thousand vehicles that are registered here in Belize City. That is a lot of vehicles considering the fact that we have a little over 90 thousand residents in our city outside of tourists and persons who come into our city to work. These are actual residents and so there is concern and it is only growing. We have recently taken on the responsibility 10 thousand pound and over vehicles so that is additional responsibility. Buses, the fact that some bus owners will still park on the street. A lady brought up the fact that it is a nuisance on her street and this person parks it at night. We do have regulations out that you are not to be buses on the street or you will be fined. You should have a respective place to park your bus but some of these bus owners are really trying to sidestep us and park during the nights. Again it poses problems. What was brought up by this particular resident is the fact that people have been robbed as a result of these buses blocking the view. It is also an obstruction for drivers. All in all it was a positive experience and I think that residents can learn from this and bring their issues to the table. ”

Councilor Roger Espejo told us the City Council will be meeting with the Ministry of Works to ensure that residents of Belize City benefit from several projects that will be undertaken by the Ministry of Works. He said the Works Department within the council has been very active. Mayor Moya said the Council hopes to keep the residents of the City involved in the affairs of the Council and invites residents to be a part of upcoming meetings called by the council.

Live and let live