Town Council holds open meeting

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 10, No. 25            June 22, 2000

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The San Pedro Town Council, in keeping with their promise of accountability and transparency in their administration, held an open meeting on Tuesday evening at the Town Hall. Joining Mayor Alberto Nuñez were the six councilors, Area Representative Patty Arceo and Mr. Armin Pol of the San Pedro Town Council.

    Mayor Alberto Nuñez welcomed the over twenty-five concerned citizens for their interest and then introduced Ms. Arceo to give the opening remarks. Ms. Arceo mentioned that this was the first of many quarterly meetings that Town Council will be holding, as required by law. She stated that many past Town Boards have been very successful in working for the betterment of this community but that the present Town Council has been doing an excellent job in just a short time.

    Mayor Nuñez then reported the Town Council's achievements for the first three months. He began by mentioning the first meeting of the Council, when portfolios were assigned to each member. Pending more developments, the councilors may soon have a re-assignment of duties.

    Mayor Nuñez then went on to give a financial report of their term in office. The revenue budget for April 2000 to March 2001 is $1,583, 893.00. By the end of May the Town Council had collected $404,856.53 or 25.56% of the budget revenue. The SPTC accounting is based on total revenue and expenditure, not profit and loss. In other words, in an ideal situation they should only spend what they collect. At the end of May, they had spent $267,216.00 or 16.87% of the budget. The overall budget performance shows that to-date they have collected a little over what they budgeted. Their cash balance as of June 16th, 2000 shows a balance of $215,261.00 and bills outstanding are $6,536.00. These figures show they are within their budget in revenue and expenditure. They have $50,000 in fixed deposits and $6,722.00 in Escrow. They also collected $136,316.00 from the last auction of lands.

    He continued by naming the Council's various activities to improve the quality of life of San Pedro in this three month period. These include the building of sea walls in various areas including the San Juan, Boca del Rio and town core areas. Proper drainage has been installed in different areas of town. To alleviate the trash problem on the island, 75 garbage stands with containers and ten beach garbage containers have been installed. Fencing and proper cleaning for landscaping and future parks around Maya mounds have also commenced, in addition to fencing the area near Sea Tec for a proposed alligator-watching tourist attraction. Twenty new streets have been opened to the public. Most of these streets were rebuilt adding a small drainage system and by grading the streets properly. Lights have also been installed at different parks and street lights added at San Pedro High School, Football Field and San Marcos areas. In their efforts to control and regulate the heavy traffic in San Pedro, the Town Council was forced to put a moratorium on permits to bring motor vehicles onto the island. They are also working on one-way streets, sidewalks and restrictive parking. On the health care issue for the island, they have had two meetings with PAHO consultants, the medical providers on the island and the general public to plan how best they can improve the health care. The Council also co-sponsored the recent Health Care Fair. They have received a commitment for a new fire truck from Central Government in addition to the donation of a newly renovated fire truck from the City of Cherryville, North Carolina. They have committed to making major repairs and refurbishing the San Pedro Roman Catholic School in the amount of $50,000. They have also spent money on education, sports, traffic, the San Pedro Library, Health Center and Ambergris Museum.

    Future projects include major repairs to the main pier; a bridge in Boca del Rio; establishing more drains on Coconut Drive; the construction of a new street by the BEL Generation Plant to link Angel Coral Street and Seaweed Street; and to organize and control street vendors that have no assigned place to sell goods. In closing, Mayor Nuñez thanked the citizens of San Pedro, the Area Representative and Central Government for their help and cooperation.

    The floor was then open to discussion. Concerns were voiced with regards to the proposed San Mateo subdivision, property taxes being raised, the Civic Center for San Pedro, the new cemetery and the role of the San Pedro Drug Demand Reduction Task Force. The council assured those gathered that all issues would be dealt with.
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