EVEN if Cebu City Hall still needs P985 million to fund some projects and services for the remainder of the year, City Treasurer Ofelia Oliva said the City’s finances “are in the pink of health.”

Michael Rama assumed as mayor with the City having P915.7 million cash balance for the General Fund, but it also has P2.6 billion in projected expenses that it has to fund from June 26 to Dec. 31.

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The cash balance in treasury does not include yet the Special Education Fund, which can be used only for education-related expenses, and the Trust Fund intended for medical programs and certain infrastructure projects.

With P217 million to be received later this year from SM Prime Holdings’ partial payment for South Road Properties (SRP) lots and P484.3 million as internal revenue allotment (IRA) share, the City needs to collect around P985 million more in taxes to fund salaries, debt service and maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) for the next six months.

To increase revenues, the City Treasurer’s Office (CTO) will intensify the collection of unpaid taxes as well as regulatory fees and other fees of income-generating offices.

“Kaya ra kaayo na. I’m confident that we can collect that amount and fund everything that is in our budget. Even after all the City’s expenses for the first half of this year, our financial situation is very safe. We spent within our means... Ug ato pa ning lawas, it’s in the pink of health,” Oliva said of the City’s financial situation.

With the P985 million that has to be collected, the City needs to raise P165 million a month, which she said is doable considering that the City’s average monthly collection is P180 million to P200 million.

In an interview yesterday, she said that contrary to what the administra-tion’s critics have said, the P1.5-billion third supplemental budget (SB) did not drain the City’s finances.

SB No. 3 included the P100-million scholarship fund, the P25 million for the judges’ additional allowance and funding for the senior citizens cash allowance, burial and medical assistance.

Since the CTO will not have new fund sources for the fourth SB that Rama wants to pass later this month, Oliva said she advised the Local Finance Committee to realign some of the unobligated funds from the previous years, which were intended for infrastructure projects that were not implemented.

Oliva committed to Rama that up to P153 million in realigned funds will be available for the fourth SB.

Control

“Very safe kaayo atong finances but I told them mu-control lang una ta sa supplemental budgets so ang nasabotan sa finance committee is realignment of funds lang atong buhaton... Nibalibad ko na kuhaon sa atong existing funds ang SB kay wala na man gyud koy sources of funds, so realignment na lang,” she said.

From June 26 to Dec. 31, 2010, the City needs P603.4 million for personal services, P1.2 billion for MOOE that includes utility bills and fuel, P387 million for capital outlay and P413 million for the SRP loan payment this August.

In July, the City will collect P109 million from SM Prime and another P107.9 million in October.

It will also get P484.3 million from the National Government for its IRA share, or roughly P80.7 million a month.

Oliva said the City has yet to collect some P200 million in unpaid business taxes and some P350 million in real property taxes from delinquent taxpayers.

If this can be collected, the City will have more than enough to cover this year’s General Fund and additional supplemental appropriations, she added.