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Statia Island Council approves budget amendment and financial report


ST. EUSTATIUS – The Island  Council held a public meeting Wednesday to discuss  the financial summary report  and the budget amendment.  Island Council Member for St. Eustatius Empowerment Party (STEP) Franklin Brown submitted a notice extending his apologies for not being able to be present  at the first Island Council  meeting under the new UPC/ SLAM/Merkman coalition.   Newly appointed Commissioner of Finance Reginald Zaandam of United People’s Coalition (UPC), who was  sworn in last week Thursday,  started his deliberations by  commending the Finance  Department for their work.

He explained that the 2013 quarterly report, which should have been completed  in March 2013, was granted  extension by Committee for  Financial Supervision CFT.   Commissioner Zaandam quickly added that the second  quarterly report would be  ready and submitted according to the stipulated timeline. The budget amendment, which was approved by all Island Council members present, was also explained in detail. The Commissioner of Finance highlighted the fact that the budget amendment is based on four pillars.

“The government owned properties and buildings were never registered properly and this was corrected by previous governments.  The present value is set at US $13 million but this is in assets and not fluent cash,” the Commissioner said.  He continued elaborating on the pillars on which the 2013 amendment is based. He talked about the errors made in the system over the years at the Finance Department caused by personnel shortage  and lacking tools to assure accuracy.   Zaandam expressed gratitude that this department is now modernized and doing everything to correct system data.   The Finance Commissioner said he was “extremely happy” to inform the Council that there is a financial windfall of “a reasonable amount,” which will be used for the almost depleted budget for travels. The previous financial projections on the travel budget were estimated on the low side and will be adjusted.  Zaandam stated that the financial report is in its final stages. The information in the financial report is essential for the 2014 budget.

The Commissioner concluded that an estimated US $18.5 million will be available  after the execution of projects,  while the expenses are set at  US $17.5 million, which will  leave the Island Government’s  coffers with US $500,000 at  the end of 2013.  The proposed budget amendment was adopted as submitted by all present Island Council members.

Source: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten

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