Thursday’s Central Committee meeting, which was chaired by Island Council member Carl Buncamper, in the absence of Chairman Rolando Wilson and member Ishmael Levenston, discussed the 2013- 2016 draft Budget with Commissioner Bruce Zagers offering an overview. He said the budget draft for 2013 was balanced and already approved by the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT with a total figure of US $9.3 million. He said the budget was in compliance with the Decree on Budget and Accountability Public Entities BBVBES.
The allocations for Fort Bay Harbour, Juancho Yrausquin Airport and the Agriculture Department have been moved under the core needssection of the budget. Sufficient maintenance is budgeted to prevent future backlogs.
The US $1.22 million increase in free allowance had been incorporated within the multi-annual budgets. Price compensation had been entirely removed from the budget.
Cost of living adjustment had also been made. Commissioner Zagers said talks held last week between Government Service Caribbean Netherlands RCN, the Island Government and the unions had led to salary adjustments from January 1, 2013. The salary for the island registrar had also been budgeted.
Buncamper applauded that the current administration was able to start budgeting some reserves, which had not been the case until now.
Commissioner Zagers also presented the 2012 Budget amendments, which were adjusted to the amount of US $1.2 million, including a special fund of over US $100,000 for social issues. For elections US $11,000 has been put aside, and US $26,000 will be made available for security cameras at the harbour. For construction of buildings and roads, including the road to The Level and some in The Bottom, US $518,000 was allocated. Funds were also allocated for the “benching” of the hill in the harbour, for subsidy of the day care centre, as well as for culture.
For the promotion of tourism an additional US $70,000 were allocated with subsequent allocations to be upped to US $100,000 per year. Sport subsidies were increased with the plan to attract afterschool trainers from Cuba.
Commissioner Zagers pointed at two one-time grants. One concerns US $50,000 for the refurbishment of the Hyperbaric Chamber. Zagers noted that the chamber needs to be repaired. “This is something that even this week received a lot of press and it needs to be done,” said the Commissioner.
The other grant of US $90,000 is for moorings for visiting yachts, which is considered of importance in supporting tourism.
Source: “The Daily Herald” 2012-09-28