The city of Cuenca is rushing to set budget priorities ahead of a $10 million cut in funding provided by the federal government in 2016.
“There will be reductions in expenditures that will affect a number of services and projects,” said Fernanda Vintimilla, city budget director. She said her office is compiling a proposed budget to deal with the reductions and plans to submit it the city council next week.
Deputy Cuenca Mayor Ruth Caldas says she expects the 2016 budget to be $130 million to $150 million compared to this year’s budget of $160 million. “This is a significant cut since our needs grow each year,” she said. “Once we have the proposal from the budget office we can look at making the needed adjustments.”
Caldas said the city council will try to avoid personnel layoffs but said some positions will be evaluated. She said that the city is imposing an immediate hiring freeze and that open positions will not be filled, at least until after a new budget is approved.
Vintimilla said that projects currently underway, such as tram construction and the renovation of San Francisco Plaza will not be affected. “Funds for these have been allocated in previous budgets and have been set aside.