Chairman of the Linden IMC, Orrin Gordon, has declared that the municipality is operating illegally.
According to him, this is so because the Linden municipality submitted a budget of $115M for its operation in 2014, which should have been approved by November 15th last year and to date, the budget has not been approved.
Gordon made the declaration during a press conference in the Mayor’s Parlour, Republic Avenue, Linden on June 3rd. He said the time is soon approaching when the municipality will not have any financial resources to continue its normal operations.
He said the Linden IMC has been able to operate with some semblance of normalcy during the first half of this year because Linden citizens tend to pay their rates and property taxes promptly during the first quarter of the year. Gordon said the Linden IMC had a deficit of $33M in the budget that it submitted – and the deficit resulted from the increase in wages to municipal workers following the increase in minimum wage that became effective last July.
He said the Ministry of Local Government gave the Linden IMC a $9M subvention towards the end of 2013, which the municipality had intended to use for wages and salaries but it was subsequently told that all of the subvention should not be used for that purpose. Consequently, the IMC utilized $1M in doing laterite work on two roads in the residential community of Block 22 in the hope that the Regional Democratic Council would complete the roads by capping the laterite with asphalt.
Gordon said that he spoke to Norman Whittaker, Minister of Local Government, on the issue of the unapproved budget at the opening of the Linden Town Week celebrations in late April and the minister promised him a quick response but he has not heard from the minister since on the issue.
According to the Linden IMC Chairman, two other municipalities – Georgetown and New Amsterdam – are in the same predicament. He elaborated: “The budget for the three PNC- controlled municipalities have not been approved. They are operating illegally.”