The experience gained in drafting budgets over the previous years has made the process of drafting the 2014 budget an efficient one, in the view of Commissioner of Finance Bruce Zagers. The 2014 budget is US $10,144,000, some US $869,000 more than the current budget.
The draft budget, which has been submitted to the Central Committee for examination, meets the guidelines of the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT and is prepared according to the format of the Decree Budget and Accountability BES BBVBES. The budget should be submitted to the Minister of Kingdom Affairs by November 15, a deadline which Saba is expected to meet. As the budget making process has improved in recent years this has greatly increased the accuracy of the multiyear projections over the four year period 2014-2017. This means that very few major adjustments are necessary when preparing a new budget. Recurring governmental expenses such as basic operational cost have been adjusted based on the insight gained from the revenue figures from the 2012 year report.
Another adjustment is in the procedure whereby monies allotted to facility maintenance, which fell under general expenditures, would have to be re-allocated to the specific maintenance projects for which they were earmarked by budget amendment during the first quarter of the year. Now these projects have been already placed within the relevant budget post. This greatly improves efficiency because projects can commence as soon as the budget year begins, which will help eliminate the potential for maintenance project funds having to be carried over to the next budget year.
The Free Remittance, which constitutes the largest contribution the budget of the Public Entity, remains in line with previous years at 87 per cent of the total budget or $8,776,000. Total revenues to be generated locally are $1,368,000 – a small increase over this year; these projections are based on the revenue figures from 2012.
Commissioner Bruce Zagers said that he is satisfied once again to be able to provide a balanced budget that ensures continued development of the island; he also expressed gratitude to his fi nancial team for their hard work in preparing the budget.
Congratulations again for Bruce Zagers and for those who worked in and for this department.
Compare this for instance with the situation on Statia:
Vote on Statia’s budget invalid!
By: Koos Sneek
President DP Statia
Date: October 18th 2013
The Democratic Party has requested the intervention of Mr. Wilbert Stolte, the Kingdom Representative on the way in which the meeting on the budget 2014 was held.
Without ever presenting a governing program to the council, the coalition UPC/independent Lijfrock/independent Merkman attempted this Thursday to pass the budget 2014 through the island council. The island council meeting was marked by blunders, ignorance and irregularities. At the time of the vote on the budget only two island council members, namely Henriquez and Merkman, were present, which makes the vote invalid. The budget was thus passed with no majority taking part in the vote as required in accordance with the Wolbes.
Also the meeting had been called on Tuesday Oct 15th, only two days prior to the meeting, ignoring article 9.1 of the rules of order which reads that a meeting need to be called 7 days prior to a meeting.
The notice of seven days for calling the meeting was not adhered to and a previous agreement to hold the meeting at a later date was ignored. This may also explain why the council registrar (raadsgriffier) was absent. Since council lady Spanner realized that due to the short notice she could not be in Statia on time, she decided to send her questions on the budget in writing to the Governor. His reply was that she would receive her answers within two weeks and unfortunately this would be after the handling of the budget.
In order for the coalition to have a quorum to start the meeting all three coalition council members signed in after which council lady Lijfrock left the meeting and did not return. Councilman Brown signed in as only opposition member, and as said DP council lady Adelka Spanner was not able to attend the meeting.
The question that may be asked is what was the rush to call the island council meeting on such short notice? According to the Wolbes government has until November 15th to deliver the budget to the minister of interior affairs.
The council meeting followed a central committee meeting held on Monday Oct 14th, which apparently took place without a quorum of members being present. It should be mentioned here, that although in accordance with the Wolbes central committee meetings need to be public, on Statia these meetings are not open to the public and held in secrecy.
After a two and a half hour useless debate without a conclusion on garbage at a temporary school site the meeting was adjourned for lunch. After lunch the public noticed that commissioner Tearr did not return. It was said that he had to leave the island to travel to St. Maarten. Also for him apparently the meeting was called on a too short notice and he decided that his business in St. Maarten was more important than to attend the budget debate and defend his portfolios in the most important island council meeting of the year.
Before the deliberations on the budget started, councilman Brown requested a head count. He had noticed that the ruling parties did not deem it fit to assure that a majority of them be present in order to make sure that the budget would pass. The chairman, governor Berkel, however denied the head count as he felt there was no basis for it in the rules of order. Brown then departed and left the meeting not to return. After some hesitation the chairman decided to temporarily adjourn the meeting and he requested council members present including commissioner Zaandam to retreat in a backroom. Shortly after they returned and the meeting continued with only two out of the five council members present. The short debate on the budget was obviously a farce and after a vote in which only the two remaining council members took part the budget 2014 was adopted. This is a clear violation of article 30 of the Wolbes, which reads that a majority of the sitting island council members need to take part in the vote. Based on this no other conclusion can be made than that the vote is invalid and the budget meeting needs to be recalled. This will also allow council lady Spanner to receive the answers from the executive council to her questions prior to the vote on the budget.
Always nice to have someone re-quote somebody’s article that quotes articles…
Yes we NEED more articles and less solutions!
Thanks for the sour persimmons Chuck.