The new Belize City Council led by Mayor Bernard Wagner has already reached its one hundred days marker. Wagner said that the Council is faced with some financial constraints since sixty-five percent of its total revenue which is usually collected at the beginning of the year was spent by the past administration before the elections. Wagner added that the Council now has to find new ways of raising funds; one of the ways it will seek to do this is by accessing an overdraft.
Mayor Bernard Wagner – Mayor of Belize City
Mayor Bernard Wager: We felt that if we could access an overdraft from a lending institution we would be borrowing at roughly 7% rather than going along that discount program where you are borrowing from the people at 20% so we will be saving ourselves somewhere between 12%. The fact of the matter is our pay roll is huge, we also have our responsibilities with waste control. We have financial obligations with Belize Maintenance Ltd. and we have other vendors that we need to ensure that we pay. We have contractual obligations with RJB, with other entities so the monthly expenditure is huge so it’s about ensuring that you allocate those resources and that you are able to meet pay roll. We don’t want to be a council where all we are interested in is meeting pay roll, it has to be more than that, and we have to deliver services and goods.
Wagner said that the Council is already in negotiations with its bankers. Wagner explained that in November, the Council will re-float the City Council’s bond. He added that these two initiatives should be able to sustain the Council for the remainder of the year.