Issue of December 31, 2017
Mt. Province

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Budget deliberations resume on Jan 8

To cope with the demand for more programs, projects, and activities for the delivery of basic and quality services to the public, the mayor proposed a higher executive budget for 2018.

Local Finance Committee Chair Leticia Clemente said during the Dec. 11 budget hearing of the city council that bulk of the projected increase amounting to around P270 million will come from the proposed real property tax increase to be implemented in 2018. A portion of the amount will also be used for priority projects contained in the Annual Investment Plan (AIP) particularly the construction of the multi-parking building at Camp Allen amounting to P210M; the increase in calamity fund by P5M, and the remaining amount for other programs and projects.

In the event the proposed tax hike is not approved, Clemente said that the account of said multi-parking and the other affected programs and projects would be maintained in the budget so that they would be prioritized for implementation once funds from other sources are available.

The other expenditures that rely on the budget increase are expenditures for additional personnel in various offices of the 18 departments of the city government.

With the implementation of third tranche of the Salary Standardization Law, P671M was allotted for the personal services for employees. These include overtime and night pay differential, honorariums, and performance-based bonuses.

There are also new positions mandated by law and also by ordinance that accounts for P10M.

At present, the city government has 1,524 total workforce composed of 1,005 employees under the first level category from salary grade 10 and below, and the 519 employees under second level occupying salary grade 11 upward to supervisory and managerial positions.

The council agreed to schedule a special session for the AIP to thoroughly hear various concerns of the councilors like the suggestion for realignment of some funds to other areas as well as other concerns such as the apprehension that some projects in the barangays might be realigned to finance the multi-parking building if the RPT increase will not push through.

The chair of the Committee on Finance and Appropriation manifested that part of the discussion would be the option to still approve the real property tax increase with a reduced amount from the projected P600M to P350M which the council can do as part of its commitment and responsibility to comply with the required tax update and considering the warning for compliance issued by the Department of Finance.

The budget deliberation will resumes on Jan. 8, 2018 to tackle the remaining budgets of the City Buildings and Architecture Office, the General Services Office, the City Administrator’s Office, and the City Treasury Office, and other urgent budget-related matters.

A happy and prosperous New Year to all!

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