The Daily Herald writes that the third and last budget amendment meeting for 2014 was held on Thursday, December 18, at the Public Central Committee Meeting at the Government Building in The Bottom. As for the two previous amendments for 2014, there have not been any policy changes.
Councillor Carl Buncamper was the first to ask questions to Commissioner Bruce Zagers. Buncamper asked for insight into the previous quarterly budget reports since these were not presented as yet.
Another point Buncamper commented on was the shifting of the budget spreading for the Dutch funding in 2015. He asked for a better way of securing the funds being sent to the right departments.
Buncamper also suggested the realisation of a better organisational chart to give an improved understanding of the different roles and responsibilities of each government official.
Zagers was not aware of the fact that the previous quarterly budget reports are not yet available. He promised to take this mater up with accountant agency Ernst & Young. As for the comment on budget spreading, Buncamper added he was more interested in the motivation behind it so there would be a better understanding of what the funds are meant to achieve.
Zagers said he would come back on this issue in January. He then commented on Buncamper’s last issue by saying he is already in discussion with the Island Secretary Wim van Twuijver to construct a more sufficient civil servant apparatus. He acknowledged the current organisational chart is quite complex and should be more efficient. This subject will also be reviewed in January and he hopes some funding will be made available to help strengthen this issue.
Next point on the agenda was on building and construction permits. The currently applied building permit regulations, established in 1999 and 2007, are up for review. There has been a lot of complaints, especially by younger people in the community, that the cost for these permits are too high.
Buncamper also commented on this issue and made several recommendations on adjusting the fees to serve the community and create a fairer legislation. Buncamper wanted to know if there would be a possibility to (partially) refund fees to people who paid too high a fee in tomorrow’s standard.
Commissioner Zagers was positive about this and concurred that the current legislation on the matter is too complex and needs to be simplified.
Commissioner Chris Johnson then spoke about his recent trip to the Netherlands. Apart from talking to the Evaluation Committee, he spoke about the “algemene bestedings belasting” (general expenditure tax) increase which will commence in January2016.
Johnson said that the tax structure implemented in 10-10-‘10 has hurt the Saban economy and an increase would be even more hurtful. Johnson had several meetings asking for more funding for different Saban projects.