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Belize City Mayor says business picking up steadily, urges GOB to fully reopen the economy

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Posted: Tuesday, May 26, 2020. 5:41 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: Belize City Mayor, Bernard Wagner said that the Belize City Council’s revenue collection has increased for the month of May and that he hopes the National COVID-19 Oversight Committee will fully reopen the economy soon.

Wagner said today that from the week of May 15 to the Week of May 22, the council’s revenue collection went up from $258,000 to $300,000. Wagner also said that the number of people visiting the Traffic Department went up from 958 to 1,017 during the same period. The Mayor said he is encouraged by the gradual return to the norm in some respects, and hopes that, given Belize has gone some 45 days without reporting a newly confirmed case, that the Committee will reopen the country for business.

“While you want to be cautious we have to open back businesses,” Wagner said. “What is business in a city if it is not functioning? We need our city to begin to reopen, we need to see life back in our city…Many of our business owners are struggling, we can not allow this to continue any further.”

Wagner said that despite the increase in revenue, the council continues to work for reduced pay with the bulk of the staff working for 75 percent, managers working for 66 percent, and the Mayor and City Councillors working for 50 percent of their salaries. He noted that the city is keeping a close eye on revenues and projections to see when it can bring back in workers who have been displaced due to the pandemic.

“We know that many of our staff are excited and want to come back to work but we continue to be responsible and we want to look at the numbers and really analyze the numbers before we make any decision on bringing back our full staff,” Wagner said.

Wagner added that while the Belize City Council has not received any backing from Central Government for negotiating overdraft facilities and other means of securing financing from commercial banks, the council has taken to mortgaging properties in its possession to handle any incurred debt.

 

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