City Hall to lower rev­enue tar­gets

Cebu Daily News - - NEWS - By Jose Santino S. Bu­na­chita RE­PORTER

With a smaller P6.3 bil­lion pro­posed bud­get for next year, Cebu City Hall is less pres­sured to meet large tar­get rev­enues to fund the pro­posal.

The Lo­cal Fi­nance Com­mit­tee (LFC) of the ex­ec­u­tive de­part­ment has de­creased some of their tar­get col­lec­tion for some rev­enue sources for next year com­pared to their tar­gets for this year.

Dur­ing the start of the marathon bud­get hear­ings on Wed­nes­day, City Trea­surer Tessie Ca­mar­illo ex­plained that com­pared to pre­vi­ous years, their tar­get rev­enue col­lec­tions for 2018 are now more re­al­iz­able.

Re­al­is­tic tar­get

“We made it re­al­is­tic. For the past years, we have not reached our tar­gets. But now, we are nearer to our es­ti­mated and re­al­iz­able rev­enues,” she said.

Among the tar­get sources of funds that have been re­duced is that of the Real Prop­erty Taxes (RPT) from P1.6 bil­lion this year to only P1 bil­lion for next year.

Ex­pected rev­enues from pro­fes­sional taxes and other smaller taxes have also been re­duced to P359,000 com­pared to the tar­get this year for “other lo­cal taxes” which was pegged at P1.3 bil­lion.

Biz tax tar­get up

How­ever, some other sources of rev­enues have been tar­geted to in­crease next year in­clud­ing that of busi­ness taxes. From the tar­get col­lec­tion of P1.5 bil­lion this year, this has been in­creased to P1.76 bil­lion in 2018.

“We in­creased the tar­get col­lec­tion for busi­ness taxes since there are pro­posed amend­ments to in­crease our tax rates. Since 1994, we have not in­creased our tax rates,” Ca­mar­illo said.

Dur­ing the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tions of for­mer mayor Michael Rama, his pro­posed an­nual bud­gets reach as much as P18.9 bil­lion. And in those years, the City Trea­surer’s Of­fice has failed to reach their tar­get rev­enue col­lec­tion mak­ing a lot of their pro­posed al­lo­ca­tions un­funded by ac­tual cash.

Bud­get hear­ings

The com­mit­tee on bud­get and fi­nance of the Cebu City Coun­cil started the marathon bud­get hear­ings on Wed­nes­day for the an­nual bud­get pro­posal.

Coun­cilor Mar­garita Os­meña, head of the com­mit­tee, said the bud­get hear­ings this time are eas­ier to un­der­stand and to de­lib­er­ate upon since there were prior meet­ings be­tween some city coun­cilors and the lo­cal fi­nance com­mit­tee prior to the sub­mis­sion of the an­nual bud­get pro­posal.

Ma­jor­ity bloc

This is also the first time in sev­eral years that the ma­jor­ity bloc in the City Coun­cil is al­lied with the city mayor.

“When I was chair­per­son of the com­mit­tee be- fore, we were never in­vited to meet­ings of the lo­cal fi­nance com­mit­tee even if we were sup­posed to be there. Now, it’s easy be­cause I was there with them, and I knew (the pro­pos­als). There are no sur­prises,” said Os­meña, who is also the deputy mayor on bud­get con­cerns.

LFC

She added that dur­ing their meet­ings with the lo­cal fi­nance com­mit­tee, which is com­posed of the city trea­surer, city ad­min­is­tra­tor, city ac­coun­tant, and city bud­get of­fi­cer among oth­ers, they also in­vited some coun­cilors of the op­po­si­tion bloc.

They in­vited Coun­cilors Jose Daluz III and Jo­ce­lyn Pes­quera who both al­ready have prior ex­pe­ri­ences as heads of the com­mit­tee on bud­get and fi­nance in pre­vi­ous years. It was only Daluz who at­tended their meet­ings, though.

Aside from the LFC, the com­mit­tee also heard the pro­pos­als of some of­fices un­der the mayor’s of­fice and that of the city ad­min­is­tra­tor’s of­fice, but there were not much dis­cus­sions.

Sim­ple process now

“It is very sim­ple now be­cause there are no changes. What we were just ask­ing was how the of­fices spent their ap­proved bud­gets this year in or­der for them to jus­tify get­ting the same bud­get for next year,” Os­meña said.

Since Mayor To­mas Os­meña pro­posed a “ski­nand-bones” an­nual bud­get for 2018, of­fices in City Hall have pro­posed more or less the same bud­get as what they re­ceived this year.

Ad­di­tional ex­penses, they said, can be cov­ered by sup­ple­men­tal bud­gets next year when the city ex­ceeds their tar­get rev­enue col­lec­tions or if they find other sources of funds.

CDN FILE PHOTO

Cebu’s City Hall has low­ered its real prop­erty tax rev­enue tar­gets for next year with a smaller pro­posed bud­get of 6.3 bil­lion for next year.

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