[ Manila Bulletin Online ] December 16, 2008
By DEXTER A. SEE
More revenues needed to fund R50-million budget increase
BAGUIO CITY – Garbage fees and other charges collected from the residents will have to be increased to enable City Hall to fund the R50-million hike in the city’s budget for 2009.
This was learned from Mayor Reinaldo Bautista Jr., who is batting for the strict implementation of tax and revenue measures to fund the proposed P950,140,000 budget for 2009. It is bigger by P50 million over its budget in 2008.
Mayor Bautista said the last time the city adjusted the rate of garbage fees was in 1992, so it os high time to increase it.
But the increase in garbage-collection fees may not be enough to meet the fund need for garbage management.
In 2008, the city council approved a special allocation of P103.1 million broken down as follows: P60,500,000 for hauling of garbage until Dec. 31; P30 million for purchase of an area for a permanent engineered landfill; and P12,600,000 for the purchase of dump trucks.
Some council members observed that the temporary hauling of garbage to Capas, Tarlac is draining the city treasury of funds.
However, measures to fund the 2009 budget will come not only from garbage-collection fees but also from other fees.
Mayor Bautista also proposed an increase in market fees, other service fees and even real property taxes.
The mayor said tax reforms are needed to raise enough funds for the implementation of vital projects next year. This will be considered when the budget for 2009 is discussed.
"The tax measures being proposed for approval by the august body (city council) such as the general tax revision of real properties which is mandated under Republic Act No. 7160, increase fees at the city market as well as garbage, sewer, and other services would make available substantial funds for the development of the city to attain its medium-term plans and would fulfill our goal of more than a billion budget," the mayor stated in his budget message to the city council.
"However, these tax measures will still have to go through the process and the increments for the approved new rates will be taken up in the supplemental budget(s)."
At present, the city charges P50 per household and P100 per commercial building for the collection of garbage.
The mayor said he will propose an increase in the garbage fees to P500 per household and P1,200 per commercial establishment.
The mayor said the proposed budget focuses on programs that, he said, "are responsive to the development of the city’s priority concerns."
These include the rehabilitation of the Baguio Convention Center at a cost of P12 million, development of the city market at a cost of P35 million and subsidy for the operations of Burnham Park in the amount of P12 million.