NA Municipality presents proposed $224M budget for 2021
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Acting Mayor of New Amsterdam, Wainwright Mc Intosh
Acting Mayor of New Amsterdam, Wainwright Mc Intosh

THE New Amsterdam Municipality, on Monday, presented a proposed $224M budget for the year 2021 and is anticipating a collection of some $137M in market fees and property tax.
The projected $39,343,336 which is expected from market-related fees and $98, 136,533 from Municipal Property Tax, along with the $18M subvention from Central Government, will be used in part, to improve the services offered to the residents of the township.
The proposed budget, which has to be approved by the Ministry of Local Government, also includes a sum of $12, 615,751 which will be used to fill potholes and repair cross streets.
In her report, municipal treasurer, Kerryanne Edwards, described 2020, as “a very unusual financial year where adaptability was the main theme”.
She said that, in-spite of the challenges encountered with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic, many tax payers chose to honour their financial obligations to the municipality, which ensured that the 90 plus staff remained employed.

During the last financial year, the municipality’s income was $159,026,897, which represented a 72.7% intake when compared to the projected $218,656, 236.
The municipal market which is the second highest income generating area was hard hit. It raked in $20,017,229, representing 51% of the projected $39,343,336. Due to the pandemic, the doors to the market were closed for many weeks, only allowing customers to benefit from essential services.
The parks and playfield were expected to generate $2.2M. However, a meagre $50,000 was added to the municipal coffers.
Employment costs had a budget of $126,243,984, but only $85,777,864 was realized. For 2021, a projected amount of $128,689,256 will allow staffers to enjoy a minimum wage.
Edwards noted that in the third quarter of 2020, the NA Municipality was able to collect 54.57% of the budgeted revenues, which in actual dollars was $106,741,554 of its projected $218,656,236. Additionally, the council received a $10M subvention from Central Government, the majority of which was assigned to infrastructural developmental works.

Further, Central Government in 2020 funded the Community Enhancement Infrastructure Project (CEIP) which assisted the municipality with much needed drainage and developmental works, she added. A team leader and 36 individuals were part of that project.
Unlike the previous years, notices for this year’s budget hearing were not dispatched to a wide cross section of the township. Instead, just two representatives of each of the seven constituencies received notices, as part of the municipal’s efforts to follow the COVID-19 guidelines and limit persons’ exposure to the virus.
Additionally, municipal staff, councillors and media operatives, who were present were made aware of a variety of issues affecting residents. These included overgrown bushes on house lots, poor solid waste management, roaming cattle, and blocked inter-lot drains.

CHALLENGES
Meanwhile, Mayor (ag) Wainwright Mc Intosh applauded staffers, from the frontline workers to the department heads, for their continuous hard work to ensure that the municipality functions effectively. He said their efforts also highlight the many challenges such as deficiencies in departments, inclusive of inadequate staffing, that the municipality was facing.
“If we are to adequately address the issue of solid waste management, that department must be adequately staffed,” he said.
He used the opportunity to urge the Ministry of Local Government to give the council the sole responsibility of hiring its staff.
“Residents, you must understand that the council is not solely responsible for hiring, and, that process is stymied through the Ministry of Local Government, which leaves a bitter sweet taste in the mouth of residents…When we look at the build-up of the illegal dumping of garbage, we cannot unilaterally employ, but because this process is stymied, it would have placed us in a precarious situation.

.And, through Central Government I humbly ask that the issues such as these are addressed in a vicarious manner, and that the municipality be given the sole responsibility for hiring of staff,” he added. Further, it was noted that the assistance given to the municipality through its Community Infrastructure Enhancement Programme from which several workers have been recalled and excuses such as budgetary issues are appalling. “Democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people,” Mayor Mc Intosh emphasized.
The two-hour session which was punctuated with comments and observations was chaired by municipal staffer Taleisha Simon. Also in attendance were Town Clerk, Sharon Alexander; Finance Chairman, Buster Wright; General Foreman, Charles Johnson and Senior Clerk, Claudine Lamazon.

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