BAGUIO City Mayor Mauricio Domogan has outlined the short and long term goals of administration in his first week in office.
On Monday's flag-raising ceremony, Domogan said the current set of city officials will focus on the implementation of unimplemented infrastructure projects which have been pending since 2004.
Peace and order, tourism, putting into place measures to reducing the effects of climate change, increasing taxes, addressing solid and liquid waste management and rallying the people as well as political opponents to achieving a common goal for Baguio, are among priorities outlined by the mayor.
In his bid in instilling order, the mayor declared the City Government will no longer collect “kuartais” or tax from peddlers who sell in prohibited areas.
Domogan said the City Government’s collection of kuartais has been interpreted by peddlers to mean that they could sell along passageways.
The mayor said his directive will be implemented immediately.
Local Finance Committee member, City Accountant Antonio Tabin, said a cut in the kuartais collection will not affect the amount of revenues the City Government generates.
Domogan, meanwhile, is eyeing a way to increasing revenues. He said he and the Local Finance Committee are set to discuss possible increases in taxes.
“We have to review our revenue generating measures. Appraisal of these fees was 15 years ago,” the mayor said.
An increase in sewerage and garbage fees as well as review of the current investment plans is in the pipeline.
The mayor said collection of these fees at the household level will also be a priority.
“Only business establishments regularly pay for these because it is automatically charged when they apply for business permits. What about in the residential areas,” the mayor told reporters.
Increasing taxes is also to fortify the city’s independence from the National Government.
He said Baguio may be a highly-urbanized city but its latest financial statement showed 44 percent of its funds come from the National Government via the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA).
“This has to be done so we do not become too dependent on assistance from the National Government.” (Rimaliza Opiña)