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Draft budget 2013 French St. Martin approved, balanced at 147M euros


MARIGOT–The Territorial Council approved the 2013 draft budget last week Thursday at a balanced 147 million euros after following recommendations suggested by Chambre Territorial des Comptes (CTC) on June 6 to put off any non-urgent projects and investments.

One of these was the postponement of the budgeted 2 million-euro acquisition of Plantation Mont Vernon that was destined to become a professional and cultural project. Also deferred was 700,000 euros of office equipment and air conditioners for the Collectivité.

The draft budget was voted on April 11 with a small deficit of 2.7 million euros in the investment section, prompting Préfet Philippe Chopin to hand over the budget to the CTC two weeks later.

As it stands now, the operating part of the budget has 117,835,883 euros and the investment section has 29,727,323 euros for a total of 147,563,206 euros.

At the Council session, Vice-President Ramona Connor offered a reminder that unpopular measures such as raising the turnover tax TGCA two more points had been enacted to generate revenues and other measures had been implemented to reduce expenses in a bid to re-balance the budget. The Collectivité had also done its part by trimming telephone bills and controlling Collectivité vehicles.

Connor also said the Collectivité is now in a position to benefit from a second disbursement of 5 million euros from Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD), having complied with the conditions laid out in the December 2012 protocol loan agreement signed between the Collectivité, State and AFD. The first disbursement of 15 million euros was received in December.

Another windfall starting this year for the Collectivité following the signing of an agreement will come in the form of tax proceeds from Francaises des Jeux (FDJ), which runs the Lotto and Euromillions. The Collectivité is expected to benefit from 20 per cent of this revenue – about 400,000 euros per year – although this amount has been questioned by the Council.

The Opposition party voted against the amended budget, but voted in favour of renewal of the Délegation de Service Public (DSP) for Sanitation.

Source: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten


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