City to cut budget; New mass Covid testing program opens; Anticeptic sprays and gels seized; Officials use disability claim illegally

Jul 3, 2020 | 21 comments

Jueves, 2/7/2020

Hola, Todos –

Actividades –
Nada.

Otras cosas –

Titular – Decisiones del COE causan controversia (COE decisions cause controversy) – See article in Thursday’s in CHL for story.

Masks, gel y alcohol seized – The municipal ordinance about health bio-security prohibits the sale of masks and products like antiseptic alcohol and sanitizing gel in public spaces in Cuenca. Disinfecting products are regulated to guarantee that their components are suitable for human use and should have a sanitary seal. The Guardia Ciudadana carries out controls to prevent street sales of masks, etc., and to enforce the ordinance requiring the use of masks or other nose and mouth coverings. The fine for going bare-faced outside of your house is $100.

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Municipal budget – The city administration will present changes to the $239,177,636.00 2020 budget by the middle of the month which is when the COOTAD (Códico Orgánico de Organización Territorial, Autonomía y Descentralización) allows municipalities to reform their budgets. Since marzo, the city has reduced programs such as soccer schools and bailoterapia. Other expenses such as contracting for trucks and replacing furniture have been put on hold to keep funds for dealing with the coronavirus. The mayor has told all municipal offices to restructure their Programas Operativos Anuales (POA – Annual Operational Programs).

The city needs no less than $35 million in cuts to balance its budget since collection of taxes has dropped sharply. <This is for all of you civics buffs and bean counters.> In marzo, tax collections were budgeted at $7,710,930.47 but only $1,749,539.25 was collected. In abril, $4,591,514.42 was budgeted but only $131,232.01 was collected. From marzo to mayo, total collections should have been $22,585,319.90 but only $2,623,023.24 was collected leaving a shortfall of $19,962.296.66.

The city has started a pilot project to compost household orgnic waste.

The 2020 budget items are as follows: 48,882,331 for public works; 9,421,902 for general administration; 3,732,854 for financial management; 5,043,422 for culture, education & knowledge; 7.796,029 for social and productive development; 6,888,632 for appraisals and cadastres, 2,324,377 for municipal control; 1,047,982 for historic and patrimonial areas; 44,261,976 for the Tranvía; and $1 million each for the hospital De La Mujer y el Niñi and the Fundación Mjunicipal Turismo.

Pilot project for composting – 65 households in the ciudadela Laguna del Sol have been given green plastic bags by EMAC EP to promote separating organic garbage which can be used to make compost and reduce the volume of garbage going into the landfill. A technician from EMAC said the objective is to make Cuenca a national model in the disposal of organic waste. One goal is to reach 830 k. of usable organic garbage which will be turned into compost to be given back to citizens for use in their gardens. <You can take your green waste to EMAC on 1 de Mayo and trade it at a 10 to 1 ratio for compost. You can run a “tab” until you’ve brought in enough waste to trade for a usable amount of compost.>

Misuse of cards for disabled – Amid the reports of corruption in the hospitals, people also took advantage of the law that allows people with disabilities to import vehicles de alta gama (high-end – your phrase for the day. May you be lucky enough to afford one of these.) without paying duties. Some of them included Daniel Salcedo, currently being investigated for corruption in hospitals, his brother, and other business people and ex-officials of the hospitals.

A few assembly members also received disability cards and imported vehicles duty free. Fabricio Villamar, an ex-CREA representative, imported a Toyota Tacoma 4×4 for $23,500. With taxes, at a dealership, the car would have cost around $90,000. He said he has a 51% hearing disability but does not wear hearing aids, and was unaware that what he did was illegal. The husband of Elizabeth Cabezas, ex-president of the Asamblea, bought a Mercedes Benz 4×4 claiming disability since an accident 36 years ago. President Moreno immediately suspended the exoneration of taxes for people with this type of card. <For someone who is truly disabled and wheelchair bound, this must be especially infuriating.>

Program for massive testing – The “Pruebas de vida” iniciative by the industrial sector of the city will provide for about 50,000 COVID tests. The chambers of industry have an agreement with Roche, and with contributions from local busineses, have raised $100,000. The tests which use blood, have over 90% reliability and an average cost of $12.00. The machine that processes the blood sample is in the Asociación de Empresas del Parque Industrial de Cuenca (AEPIC) building on calle Carlos Tosi across the street from Nutri Leche. You can get tested there.

Auto registration – Owners of cars with plates ending in 6 & 3 can register their cars this month. The appointment system for your vehicle inspection has been changed. Owners of all cars can make an appointment in the first 2 weeks, cars with plates ending in 6 & 3 can get appointments in the 3d week, and the 4th week is only for cars with plates ending in 6. Currently about 400 cars are getting inspected at each location. New cars are exempt.

And that´s all for today so Hasta ? –

Jeanne

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