The Municipality’s Finance and Budget Committee has notified the new mayor’s administration that the city is currently $17 million in debt to suppliers and contractors.
Some of the debts won’t be paid. Mayor Pedro Palacios noted that there are some bills that were generated in the last days of the previous administration that will be investigated before any payments are made. For example, there is an outstanding debt for $300,000 in the Cultural Department that was not approved by the incoming administration, even after the new Mayor insisted that no new bills be generated before his administration took over.
Other examples of these questionable charges made just before sitting the new administration include $20,000 for a music festival, $75, 892 for a “mapping show,” $100,000 more for other concerts, $66,244 for theater presentations and $22,500 for “surrendered accounts.” These charges were only in the cultural department in the days after the election and before the new administration took over.
There are other outstanding charges made before the election that simply don’t make sense on the surface and that will be investigated before being paid. Just several examples include, $167,000 for “vehicle services;” office leases by the Control UrbanoCemisol for $64,845 for one year and $52,734 for a second year; and per diem payments of $25,310 in one month (when the expenses in the previous six months had only been $21,959).
The former municipal advisor in the previous administration (who is now a councilor of Cuenca), Alfredo Aguilar, says that all the expenses of the previous administration were “fully supported” and complied with the public procurement regulations.
Aguilar, who chairs the Council’s Oversight Committee, clarified that his perspective on what was executed in the previous administration will not limit the audits that may be requested assured that the board has “open doors” to complaints about purchases and public contracts.
To date, over $5 million worth of contracts have been cancelled by the new administration.