Saturday, April 20, 2024

Mayor says the island’s economy rebounding; more delays in Town Council financial report

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Although the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) is yet to provide a financial report, as promised, Mayor Gualberto ‘Wally’ Nuñez says his administration is managing well, and the island’s economy is recovering. The rebound in finances is due to efforts in providing attractive discounts and alternative ways to make payments.

According to the Mayor, residents are paying their taxes, adding to revenue collections. Nuñez’s administration is currently offering discounts on property tax. Senior Citizens (65 and older) receive a 15% discount, and early payments also get the same deal through March 2022. Anyone making full payments on arrears will receive a 20% discount through March 2023, when the fiscal year ends.

The SPTC has now partnered with Atlantic Bank to allow residents to make online payments or through their tellers countrywide to make the process less complicated. Payments for property tax, trade license, liquor license, garbage collection, and building fees can be made this way. The process is easy, and all that is needed is the Customer Number of the individual and the corresponding tax number, which can be obtained by contacting the respective department at Town Hall. When using these services for the first time, it is recommended to get in touch with the relevant department through this link https://sanpedrotowncouncil.org/contact.

Tourism industry recovering

As the tourism industry continues to see major volumes of visitors as close as pre-COVID-19 statistics, Nuñez says the island’s economy is bouncing back week by week. Many stakeholders working in tourism indicate that they are experiencing a surge in business as more tourists arrive on the island. The recent weekends have been very busy, with the local airlines Maya Island Air and Tropic Air transporting passengers to the island as late as 10PM, particularly on Saturdays. It is projected that the country will continue a higher influx of visitors for the upcoming weeks, with the majority traveling to San Pedro Town. Some supermarkets say their sales have improved and are hopeful that the pandemic could soon be a thing of the past. However, many stakeholders have also stated that while the situation is much better compared to 2020 and last year, not everyone is recovering at the same pace, and a handful of them are still struggling to make ends meet.

Financial report promised by new administration

Mayor Nuñez promised the financial report following his victory in the March 2021 municipal elections as part of the audit. The SPTC is reportedly working on compiling all information for this document, and according to Nuñez, there are delays due to the number of discrepancies found in the investigation. In November 2021, the Mayor said they would not back down from delivering the report as his team wants to share their findings and how the town’s affairs are currently managed.

On February 24th, Mayor Nuñez shared with The San Pedro Sun that he was going to present the report on March 9th, but it was postponed. The document will inform islanders on the overall finances of the SPTC, the different investments, current and future projects, projections, how much funds have been collected from the toll at the Sir Barry Bowen Bridge, and how that money is being used.

The latest response from the Town Hall is that final reviews are underway, and once the report is completed, the Mayor will make a presentation to the island community.

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