Councilors question increase in treasury office’s allocations

Friday, December 17, 2010
THE “huge” disparity between the 2010 and 2011 budgets of the Cebu City Treasurer’s Office (CTO) raised questions among city councilors.

City councilors took note of the CTO’s 2011 allocation for travel expenses, which is more than 10 times its 2010 appropriation.

The CTO proposed a budget of P178.3 million, which is about 98 percent higher than its 2010 budgetary allocation of P89.7 million. The CTO also increased its allocation for maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) to P102.6 million compared to its P14.9 million appropriation for the same item this year.

While the City Council found the CTO’s budget to be too high, the councilors were surprised by the meager amount that the City Health Department (CHD) and the Department of Social Welfare Services (DSWS) proposed. They said the budget for the two departments should be increased.

During the last day of the marathon budget hearings yesterday, the councilors grilled City Treasurer Ofelia Oliva and took turns asking about the huge increase in the CTO’s proposed budget for 2011.


Councilor Augustus Pe Jr. said the City Council might cut the proposed allocation for some items in the treasury department’s budget.

But Oliva said the increase will help boost the city’s tax collection. She added that they are proposing to raise the travel allowance of field personnel.

The increase, she said, will also allow CTO to hire 40 certified public accountants next year.

She said she hopes the City Council would approve their proposed budget because with the amount, they may be able to collect P2 billion more in taxes next year.


Oliva earlier said the CTO aims to collect P4.4 billion in 2011, although collection could still be raised to P6 billion.

“If you want a big return of investment, you also have to invest big,” she said.

During CTO’s presentation yesterday, Oliva sought the council’s approval of the P10-million allocation for travel expenses, which was only allotted P900,000 in this year’s budget.

Of the total amount, P2.5 million will be for the travel allowance of employees who will be assigned to send notices to business establishments and real property units, conduct tax assessments, deliver check payments, debit memos and other communication.

At least P4.5 million will be used to cover the travel allowance of collectors, particularly those who are on night shift and those whose work hours end late. About P3 million will be spent to cover expenses for seminars, trainings and workshops.


“The increase in the budget for travel was requested by our division chiefs because next year, we will be conducting four auctions. We will do it every quarter and because of that, we will have more things to do to comply with the legal requirements of the auction. We have to send a lot of demand letters to all the delinquent taxpayers in the city,” Oliva said.

The amount for the purchase of supplies increased by 500 percent, while the advertising expenses, purchase of accountable forms, and tax mapping, among others, increased by 400 percent.

The amount for the purchase of supplies also increased from P1.1 million to P5.5 million, while the amount for the purchase of accountable forms increased from P5.8 million to P25 million.

From only P870,000 this year, the expenses for advertising increased to P5 million. The proposed budget for repair and maintenance of office equipment also increased from P60,000 to P5 million, while the budget for other maintenance and operating expenses increased from P1.1 million to P10 million.

The proposed amount for tax mapping operations also increased from P5 million to P20 million.
Oliva said, though, that she cannot do anything if the council decides to slash her department’s budget.

In contrast, city councilors found the CHD and DSWS budgets too small.

CHD proposed a budget of P149.3 million while DSWS suggested P159.3 million. For this year, the CHD budget is P109.6 million while DSWS had P75 million.

Pe said he wants the CHD to increase its proposed budget for rabies control and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.

The City Council finished yesterday the marathon hearings on the proposed budget for 2011 and immediately started deliberating on it.

Deliberations will continue today so they can approve the budget during a special session on Tuesday.

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