Media blocked from City Hall’s $3.7B budget discussion during Statutory Meeting
Today, the City Mayor presented to Councillors a $3.7B budget for 2017. However, the media was blocked from covering the discussions where the council’s budget is projected to have a deficit.
The projected deficit of the Mayor and City Council’s budget for next year stands at $807M says Deputy Mayor, Sherod Duncan.
On Wednesday, Councillors were given a chance to discuss the budget described by Duncan as “big on figures; short on vision”, even though they were given the final draft of the printed document some two days ago.
“I think that the kind of city that we are looking forward to, the budget doesn’t spell out a problem it is trying to solve, it is just figures thrown about”, the Deputy Mayor said.
He noted that “we start with a minus, we start with a deficit so we are really and truely telling the citizens of Georgetown that we aren’t going to be doing anything new for you. It’s the old Budget plys 20%.”
Duncan said the budget reveals that the Georgetown municipality continues to spend more than it earns since it does not cover ways to pay owed contractors.
He said the City’s budget should not be hidden from the media and it is concerning as to why they were blocked from covering the discussions.
Councillor Malcolm Ferreira also expressed his concern about that decision and the lateness of the budget presentation to the council.
“This should be an open discusion as occurs in Parliament…so I don’t know a real reason as to why something like this shoul happen” Ferreira said.
The budget was presented to the 30-member city council under the theme budget 2017, revitalising local communities in the context of a green economy.