THE Mandaue City Government will propose a lower budget for 2021 in anticipation of lower tax collection due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) crisis.
The budget slash is expected to hamper the City’s social and infrastructure services among others, said Mandaue City Treasurer Regal Oliva.
Other departments of the City Government considered as frontliners will, however, have a bigger share of the budget, said Oliva.
Mandaue City foresees a decline in the tax collection next year as businesses and workers continue to suffer economically amid the pandemic and have yet to fully recover.
The National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) projects a decrease of 30 to 40 percent of the gross sales and receipts for next year.
Business taxes are based on gross sales and receipts.
Oliva said considering that business taxes are one of the city’s main sources of income, Mandaue City will have to tighten its belt.
Compared to the City’s P2.8 billion budget for 2020, Mayor Jonas Cortes plans to propose a P2.4 billion budget for 2021.
The final figure will be determined on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020, as Cortes’ budget proposal finds its way to the City Council for approval.
In an interview, Cortes said he will focus more on health programs in 2021.
Cortes also ordered the Mandaue City Health Office to intensify vaccinations to protect Mandauehanons from other diseases.
Cortes said the City should not be complacent and should not only focus on the coronavirus disease.
The mayor did not mention the amount to be allotted in next year’s budget for health.
Meanwhile, the City Treasurer’s Office (CTO) has reported it has nearly achieved its tax collection target for this year’s budget of P2.8 billion.
Oliva said that as of August 2020, the CTO has already collected P2.3 billion; while the City expects to receive its remaining Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) of P250 million from the national government.
To achieve its tax collection target for this year, the City needs to collect P250 million more before the end of 2020.
Oliva also reported an increase in the collection of business and community taxes in 2020 compared to 2019.
In August 2019, the City’s collected business taxes amounting to P771 million; while in August 2020, the tax collection went up to P888 million.
The payment of community taxes also saw a rise in 2020, with P36 million collected as of August 2020 compared to P34 million for the same period in 2019.
In the area of real property taxes, market collections, and amusement taxes, Mandaue City still has to meet its target.
As of Aug. 31, the CTO has collected P162.6 million in real property taxes, P123 million short of its P285 million target collection for this year.
The CTO also expected to collect P85.6 million from the city’s public markets; however, only P16.3 million has been collected, so far, as of August 2020.
The payment of amusement taxes also dropped by 60 percent in 2020.
While Mandaue City collected P12.7 million as of August 2019, only P8 million was collected for the same period this year.
Meanwhile, Cortes said he will meet with barangay captains to clear danger zones from informal settlers.
Once the areas have been cleared, Cortes said it will be the barangay’s responsibility to monitor that the informal settlers do not rebuild illegal structures.
Cortes said the Mandaue City Government will offer financial assistance and transport the displaced residents through its ‘Balik Probinsya’ program.
The city’s informal settlers are usually found along the 3.5-meter easements near Butuanon River and Mahiga Creek.