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Margot: Fund sources for budget are ‘bloated’

/ 07:28 AM October 21, 2011

Funding sources for the projected P11.8-billion budget by the Rama administration next year appear “very bloated” and need to be verified, the City Council’s budget committee said yesterday.

Councilor Margot Osmeña, chairperson of the budget committee, said they will summon City Treasurer Tessie Camarillo to a budget hearing on Oct. 27 to verify if the fund sources can meet the P11.8-billion budget target.

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“At least we will know the basis of our discussion and analysis (of the 2012 budget). We want to know how much money do we need and what are the estimates,’” she said.

Osmeña said the council was worried after Camarillo admitted in last Wednesday afternoon’s budget hearing that the city will fall short by about P800 million of its P4.5-billion budgetary requirement this year.

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Mayor Michael Rama submitted to the council his draft budget for 2012 amounting to a total of P11.8 billion last Oct. 14.

His proposed budget included P870-million worth of development projects to be funded from the Local Development Funds.

It also included a P70-million appropriation for miscellaneous services for garbage collection and disposal program, up from only P7 million this year.

About P120 million was set aside for department buildings while P150 million was allocated for the expansion of the Cebu City Medical Center.

Another P10 million was set aside for a hospital parking area, P60 million for a barge, P50 million for bailout projects and another P50 million to acquire province-owned lots.

The mayor’s intelligence funds were budgeted at P24.9 million, up from P6 million this year.

About P500,000 was set aside for the City Hall band and choral group, the mayor’s pet project.

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City Administrator Jose Marie Poblete said the bailout funds would help City Hall employees with pending loans.

Camarillo’s proposed revenue sources for the 2012 budget include P4.8 billion from tax and nontax revenues, P4 billion from economic enterprises, a P2 billion credit line and lot sales from the South Road Properties at P1 billion.

Camarillo said they are targeting a P1.286-billion tax revenue collection for the city, which is more than three times this year’s actual tax collection of only P350 million.

The Cebu City Medical Center, which earned P29.3 million this year, was also projected to earn P427 million next year.

But Councilor Osmeña questioned the P870-million Local Development Fund (LDF), which was identified as a fund source.

“The LDF, which is used to fund program under the Annual Investment Program, should be classified as an expenditure and not a revenue,” she said.

Osmeña also wanted to be clarified on how the city plans to meet its P4-billion target revenue next year.

Camarillo reported to the council that they only raised P110 million from the city’s economic enterprises this year.

Rama declined to comment on projections that the city may fall to meet its P4.5-billion budget.

The mayor said he wanted to meet Camarillo and other department heads first to discuss the matter and see “where we are now.”

“I’m a positive person. I am a very optimistic person,” the mayor said.   Chief of Reporters Doris C. Bongcac

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