If you've seen Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley in his media appearances after one month of being in office - you'll know he means business. After all, he fired 25 staffers straight off - many of them being good UDP's.
And he's hoping to continue that result-oriented trend with a One Hundred Day Action Plan. It makes 100 pledges to be delivered by June 16th, the first 100 days in office.
The list is mighty fancy, and very ambitious, but considering that we're already at day 32, is it too ambitious? That's what we tried to find out a city council press conference today:
Jules Vasquez Reporting
Darrell Bradley - Belize City Mayor
"We have identified a plan of action which includes 100 realistic and measurable things that we want to accomplish in 100 days."
And the list is prioritized around four areas
"And the 1st area that we have identified is the area of governance and accountability. The 2nd area that we have identified of being of great significance is the area of infrastructure and works. The 3rd area is the area of beautification and sanitation. People have remarked to us before and after election that we need to ensure that Belize City is clean. And then the last thing that we will look at is quality-of-life crimes. We're talking about law and order in the city, and traffic management. We are talking about ensuring that the city is run in an orderly manner, that people are civil toward one and other, and there is respect and compliance to the law."
On the governance side, two high profile staffers have been retained. Accountant General Marilyn Ordonez will be the Director of Finance and Marilyn Garvin Gentle will be Chief Internal Auditor.
On the infrastructure side - bad streets are the priority:
"Our works manager has gone through the streets of Belize City; and he has identified what streets are fully paved and in a good condition; what streets are partially paved; what streets are gravel streets, what streets need substantial works, what streets are clay, what streets are part of the general public reserve; and what areas we need to focus on in terms of dealing with infrastructure, so that we can within 100 days, we can procure certain very necessary equipment - a roller, a grader, a backhoe, dump trucks, so that we can deliver the kind of works that the residents of Belize City want."
And where will the council get the money to do this? You might be surprised: They'll float a bond.
"But the idea is that City Council will float a municipal bond, a very substantial municipal bond, and this will allows us, in a relatively short period of time, to - within our term in office - finance a substantial amount of infrastructural works throughout Belize City. And we are also talking in terms of the plan about dealing with those remedial works - drains, streets - which are on a day-to-day basis, the kind of patch-patch work that residents have seen, and residents have talked about. But in order to deliver on infrastructure, we need to be able to touch the type of funding that will allow us to fully pave a substantial amount of streets within Belize City. And the floating of this municipal bond will allow us to do so."
They hope to roll out a bond offering for the local market in 6 months and hope to raise quite a tidy sum:
"A bond project that is floated on the local Belizean market, if we can get - our targets, in terms of what we are looking at it, is looking at 15 to 20 million dollars."
But the council won't need those millions to deal with sanitation:
"And we're trying to ensure that there is greater coordination and partnership with the cleaning of Belize City. We've signed a new understanding, in terms of ensuring that streets in Belize City - major streets in Belize - as opposed to being cleaned 3 times a week - they will be cleaned 6 times a week."
And to bolster the quality of life for city residents:
"But the idea of quality-of-life is that we are looking at things like public drunkenness and vagrancy. We've spoken to John Woods, and we want to develop a program within 100 days to deal with the public health situation in Belize, and particularly, homelessness."
So if Kolbe boss John Woods is involved, it begs the question:
"Where would the homeless people be put in jail?"
"They will not be put in jail, but they will be housed in the Kolbe Foundation, and I have full confidence that when Mr. Woods indicates to us that he is ready, he will house these individuals in a place at the Kolbe Foundation, but in a place that is away from the general population, and is in a place that is hospitable, offering better than they are getting now. You are looking at the situation where we're talking about shelter; we're talking of putting them in a facility which will be hospitable to them. We're talking about getting them counseling services. To me, the worst thing that we can do with the homeless is leave them in the condition. And the reason is that people don't even treat them like human beings. You walk on the street, and you walk pass a homeless person as if though they are not even there. We have to have a plan. And the plan cannot be that we do nothing and leave them in Battlefield Park. So, if you are saying that you don't like that - and some people are saying that don't like the plan - then let us sit down and talk about something better, but come to the table with something better."
Overall, the city council hopes to cut expenses by 20% - 1.6 million a month to run council - and raise revenue at the traffic department by 20%. That means more tickets:
"That is one thing - a specific thing - ensuring that we are able to have greater compliance with the traffic laws by simply issuing more traffic tickets. One the things with the 100 day plan is that we are putting a system where there is no write-off for traffic tickets. I got a traffic ticket, and I had to pay it. So, if I have to pay my ticket, then every single resident of Belize City should pay their ticket. So, we're putting in - and that's one example, the area of traffic tickets - that we can actually increase revenue, and we can actually meet the 20% target."
It is a lot to do, a list of 100 agenda items for a hundred days - but Bradley says he is serious about it:
"But the idea about the 100 day-plan is that after 100 days, we are supposed to have put in place certain systems and programs that people feel that there is a change at City Hall, that things are happening, and that we are moving in the right direction."
The hundred day list also includes the completion of an independent audit, the planting of a hundred trees and the bushing of a hundred lots.
Later on, we'll have more form the press conference as we ask the Mayor about layoffs - and if his father, Joe Bradley, a City Council Compliance Officer was ever considered for the list of staff cuts.