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City Hall Begging GOB For A Garbage Bailout #552459
09/03/21 10:31 AM
09/03/21 10:31 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 81,141
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

On Tuesday you saw Mayor Bernard Wagner lament the City's inability to pay its mounting garbage collection bill - which stands at 1.2 million dollars and counting. That money is owed to Belize West Control, the city's sanitation contractor.

And while the Mayor seemed to throw up his hands in resignation, the councillor responsible for sanitation, Micah Goodin, appeared on Sun Up on 7 this morning to say that the only hope now is a G.O.B. bailout:

Micah Goodin - City Councillor
"I think the only thing that can really save us right now in the interim is a bailout from the government of Belize. I think in the absence of that there is absolutely nothing we can do because the finances are just not there. It's not like we have this large amount of money sitting in a bank account somewhere and we're just playing hardball. That's not the case. I think we really need a financial bailout but while we get that or while we wait for that we have to start considering new revenue streams. We are already starting the discussions about the garbage tax that is something we raised in the last thing in the council but again that is going to require some level of legislation, we have to look at the legislation, we have to do consultations and that sort of thing before we can even get there. So that's whats on the table for now."

"And so why hasn't there been political will to put the garbage tax in Belize City?"

Micah Goodin
"I think the previous Mayor Darrell Bradley he tried it but during the consultation I think the way they presented it residents rejected it. And I feel like they did not proceed with it because they feared people would have affected them in the elections, politicians exist to win elections and whenever you tax people, whenever you bring these charges people and the public they are a bit, they want you sideways, whenever you go into somebody pocket, that's not a good thing for a politician. I think we'll be met with a lot of resistance, especially because it is the time of Covid and the middle class has become poor and the poor people have become poorer and so we are going to be met with a lot of resistance because people really can't afford it. As it is, people are having a challenge to meet the property taxes and so how can we then go and pin on this garbage tax but it is something for us to consider, it is something for us to consult with them. I also believe that we have to look at the other strategies, the other alternatives, the head tax, the municipal lottery, these things will be able to improve our financial situation so I think the strategy going forward has to be all encompassing; it can't just be about garbage tax. We have to make all the opportunities available and explore them."

We're told that the Mayor will meet with the Financial Secretary tomorrow to try and see how Central Government can help to cover those arrears.

We note that while the council says garbage collection is down to 2 days a week - Belize Waste Control flatly rejects that. They say they are still picking up garbage four days a week - in limited circulation due to the city's non payment. They insist on this 4 day continuity as the central requirement of their contract - which means that come end of business on Friday - City Hall will owe them another 60 grand for what will be 21 weeks of unpaid garbage collection.

Channel 7

Re: City Hall Begging GOB For A Garbage Bailout [Re: Marty] #552768
09/18/21 04:46 AM
09/18/21 04:46 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 81,141
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP
Belize City Council Deep in Trash

It’s a mounting problem, with no end in sight. For weeks, some in Belize City say for over a month, their trash has not been picked up – not by BWC nor the City Council, which has been going around collecting garbage once a week over the last month. Today, when News Five caught up with Mayor Bernard Wagner, we asked what everyone else wants to know – when will this garbage issue will be resolved?

Bernard Wagner, Belize City Mayor
“We continue to speak and try to reach common ground. The reality is nothing has changed. The council finances are still grim. People are not working, people are not paying taxes and similarly, if people are not paying taxes – money noh fall from the sky for the council – and so we continue to meet with the principals of the company to see how we can alleviate the situation with garbage. At some point in time, we will have to see, I have the long-term plan. I have already discussed the long-term plan of a garbage fee. In the interim, we want to get this thing behind us with the company and we remain optimistic.”

Belize City Residents Smacked in Middle of Garbage Impasse

As both CitCo and BWC continue to battle through this garbage crisis; Belize City residents who will have to endure yet another week of their trash not being collected. The Mayor is asking for understanding.

Bernard Wagner, Belize City Mayor
“I empathize with them as well, but we are facing the same situation and the people of Belize are left smacked in the middle without their garbage being collected. I want to see more empathy; I want to see more tolerance. We continue to work feverishly with the company to get this resolved. We don’t want to be a party or contributing to people not being able to get rid of those garbage and so we continue to work with them. I ask them to give us consideration. We know the problem that they are facing, we will continue to work for them, but the reality is that we don’t have the funds available to meet the financial obligations of the contract at this moment.”

Trash is Increasing; Is the Bill Also Going Up?

The contract says the Council pays BWC sixty thousand dollars weekly for garbage collection. We asked the Mayor whether this bill is increasing, based on the contractual agreement, even though the services are not being provided. With the council already over a million dollars in debt, is the matter heading to court?

Bernard Wagner, Belize City Mayor
“That’s a legal question you’re asking me now. I will have to refer back to my attorneys on that matter. But if common sense would speak, if you are not collecting the garbage, obviously you are not performing the functions. But it is a legal matter and I’ll leave it to the legal team.”

Duane Moody
“Sir, but some would say that it is because the council did not pay; that’s why they are not picking up.”

Bernard Wagner
“Duane, yo di go into legal thing mien….”

Duane Moody
“Sir what I am trying to get to is whether this thing is going to end up in front of the courts because we have seen in the past where this same garbage issue has ended up in the courts and the council ended up having to pay, nevertheless. So is this where it is going?”

Bernard Wagner
“It may or may not. As I said, we are in discussion with the provider. It may or may not. We have been down this road many times before. We have been in this situation – not only this council, prior councils. It is just a situation that is untenable. The sustainability of this can’t and we need to fix it permanently.”

Duane Moody
“Sir is there any support that can come from central government to maybe even foot the bill that is owed right now?”

Bernard Wagner
“We have had discussion with the government on that and they have indicated to us that something will be coming towards the bill, but we will wait and see.”

Channel 5

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