Council defers action on P2.05B 2018 city budget

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BAGUIO CITY  – The City Council deferred its deliberations on the proposed P2.05 billion 2018 budget of the local government to allow the finance officers and members of the Committee on Appropriations and Finance (CAF) to iron out possible differences in the projected income.

CAF Chairman Councilor Elmer O. Datuin said that the projected income of the local government includes the estimates for a proposed ordinance that intends to adjust the schedule of market values for real properties in the city, which is why it is needed for the members of the local finance committee to review the income portion of the proposed budget for possible adjustment.

He added that the local legislative body has not yet acted on the proposed ordinance due to the various issues raised by concerned sectors regarding the huge increase in the taxes to be paid by taxpayers once the revenue measure is enacted.

The local legislator believes that the increase in the city’s budget by over P200 million includes the projected income generated from the possible implementation of the increase in the schedule of market values for real estate properties in the city. It is why a deficit in the annual budget is possible if the income portion of the budget is corrected during the early stages of deliberations.

He said that once the finance officers are able to make the necessary adjustments on the income portion of the local government’s proposed budget for next year, then the local legislative body will approve the income portion in preparation for the full-blown deliberation of the city’s proposed expenditure next year.

Local officials are optimistic that the council will be able to enact the annual budget before the end of December this year so that the local government will operate on a new budget at the start of the year.

If the annual budget is passed on time, the local legislative body has at least 90 days next year to approve the budget and the council will be barred from deliberating on other matters until such time that the budget will be approved.

The current annual budget of the local government is more than P1.76 billion, which was approved by the local legislative body before the end of December last year.

Under the provisions of the Local Government Code of 1991, all local governments are mandated to enact their budget before the end of December every year, and that the said local governments will be given a 90-day grace period in the current year to approve the proposed budget. If the local budget will not be enacted after the 90-day grace period, the concerned local government will operate on a re-enacted budget wherein the budget of the previous year will be the operative budget for the current year.

The local legislative body assigned each of its members the departments where they will hear the proposed budgets. The same will be submitted for the deliberations of the whole council once the departments shall have completed their presentations.

By Dexter A. See

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