Marathon hearing for City’s proposed 2018 budget went smoothly

UNLIKE in previous years, the marathon hearing for the P6.2-billion proposed 2018 annual budget of the Cebu City Government went smoothly yesterday, with the Local Finance Committee (LFC) being the first to defend sources of funds for the budget.

Compared with this year, City Treasurer Tessie Camarillo said they identified smaller amounts of tax and non-tax revenues of the City because they wanted to use an “achievable” figure.

The LFC has identified the tax and non-tax revenues as the main sources of funds for the budget next year.

Under the budget proposal, the City is expecting around P3.1 billion from tax revenues, with some P1.8 billion as its share from the Internal Revenue Allotment, P947 million from non-tax revenues and P233 million from ecozone earnings for next year.

For several years, Camarillo said, the City Treasurer’s Office did not meet their target in revenue collections, that is why they estimated a conservative amount for its income projection next year.

“We look at our collection this year against the target, we did not meet. That’s why we came up with a realistic projection,” Camarillo told reporters.

Councilor Margarita Osmeña said the budget hearing was fast because items under the proposed budget were already discussed ahead during the preparation stage.

“The LFC even invited Councilors Jose Daluz and Jocelyn Pesquera because they are the ones who understand the budget. There were also decreases in the projection because we wanted to make it realizable,” she said.

Osmeña chairs the Cebu City Council committee on budget and finance.

Osmeña said there were only a few changes in the budget proposal of different offices and departments.

“It’s a very simple budget now. No change. What we are asking them is only how the present funds were spent and why they still have funds,” she said.

Councilor Osmeña explained, though, that a smaller budget doesn’t mean reduction of the benefits of the people because the executive department can always propose a supplemental budget if needed. (RVC)

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