San Pedro Town Council Presents Financial Update Before March Elections

Yesterday I attended the San Pedro Town Council’s Press Conference financial update – the results of an independent accounting audit from the current administration’s first 2 years in office.

You can read my Interview with Mayor Wally when he was running for the position in Feb 2021.

The first half (or more) of the presentation was a pretty scathing report of the mess that was reportedly left behind by the previous town council. That was quite detailed.

The current administration lined up for photo op

But the breakdown of current assets, rents, salaries, operating expenses, purchases and revenue were not available. We received a top-level summary.

This is a great step towards transparency and accountability. The first independent audit. This PUP administration has been getting some really good things done. Under their leadership, we have a huge new bridge connecting north to south, they are paving so many of the local neighborhoods (it’s really very impressive) and they have purchased quite a bit of new equipment. They have updated efficiency and systems at the town council. They, in my opinion, are better at communicating about what they are doing.

Press Conference

However regarding this audit, we are only getting the top-level summaries and one-sided criticism of the previous administration. So keep that in mind.

And, if you are interested in the press conference and the questions asked by the media houses (Channel 5, Channel 7, Reef Radio, LoveFM, the San Pedro Sun, Ambergris Today…me – I kinda had to invite myself last minute), I hope you watch the conference. You can view it on the San Pedro Town Council’s Facebook page.

Financial Audit presentation

And remember…

Municipal elections are March 6, 2024. Our current PUP administration, headed by Mayor Wally Nunez, will be up for re-election. These few months before election – no matter what party is in office – is often a time for visible infrastructure projects, campaign promises & manifestos and t-shirt-worthy headlines.

Read Six Interesting Facts about Elections in Belize

So here are a few headlines that were presented at the conference.

  • This audit was for 2021 and 2022 only. The fiscal year 2023 ends in March and, if re-elected, the current town council will present that information in October 2024.
  • When the current administration came into office, there was a reported large overdraft with two banks (over $180K), a bill with the income tax office of over $200K, and significant vendor balances to Caribena Fuels, Medina Construction, and Caribbean Depot (totally over $700k), there were outstanding loans with no information attached.
  • The current administration improved systems and has paid off or is paying down all of these balances
The town coucnil and Minister Andre
The Town Council and the Area Representative in the first row, the auditors and some press behind

More interesting nuggets that were shared:

  • The town council collected just over $9mil in revenue in 2022 – the majority is from property taxes, then liquor and trade licenses and about 20-25% from licensing golf cart vehicles (traffic was a hot topic, and questions were asked by the press. The answers were…vague)
  • Question asked: Are there plans to raise property taxes? They only said that they want to get things on “an even playing field”
  • The big question: How are the roads and the road paving project – how is that being paid for? Answer: Municipal bonds. But again, information was vague and promised at the October 2024 meeting.
  • Department of the Environment and the Forestry Department will be opening units/offices in San Pedro. (That’s great news)
  • The press brought up traffic several times – has there been an increase in permits? What sort of controls are needed/will be implemented? Information was a bit vague – they are “looking at different measures”.
  • Services are planned for north Ambergris Caye – the area growing up north of the quarry. Or “San Pedro Norte”. Electricity should be coming soon.

That’s my summary of the event: Positive, moving in the right direction but with a heavy grain of salt. Again, if you are interested in more, definitely watch the event online!

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  1. Pat Mallahan on January 25th, 2024 at 10:17 am

    congratulations !!!! you are a beat writer now :).
    Ya ever , think about running for mayor or getting a group together to support the Iguana guy ? Or staying as far away from politics as you can possibly get 🙂

    • greg on January 25th, 2024 at 11:33 am

      Ya I second the Iguana guys status. I wrote a complaint to Electric company but you see what good that did. My heart really goes out to him after getting kicked out and losing all his work and creatures.
      Good for you to check up on the goings on of the government; I Applaud you.

      • San Pedro Scoop on January 25th, 2024 at 11:37 am

        I need to go visit Calvin – he got a donation from a gofundme that was out there for about $4000US. He also still has a smaller area that he will keep open. I will write about it later this week!

    • San Pedro Scoop on January 25th, 2024 at 11:38 am

      I am a beat writer only when it is an interesting topic to me – otherwise, negative. I had to invite myself to this event 🙂 I find politics soooo interesting…but definitely like to keep a distance.

  2. Rob Douglas on January 25th, 2024 at 5:16 pm

    Thanks for sharing this news RC.

    • San Pedro Scoop on January 26th, 2024 at 8:14 am

      I’m glad a few people read it! FB does NOT want to share anything about elections…which might be a good thing? We shall see…

  3. Brenda Christian on January 25th, 2024 at 5:48 pm

    You seem to really be on top of everything. We recently had to move back to the US and really want to sell our property which has been paid off for almost a year but have not yet received the title. I have emailed and called the land department several times while living there and back in the US with no answers from them. Do you know who we might be able to contact besides the Land Department for assistance in this matter?

    • San Pedro Scoop on January 26th, 2024 at 8:14 am

      I honestly don’t – perhaps a lawyer? Maybe you can reach out to some real estate folks…I bet they have ALL kinds of information about trying to get titles. The lands department is…from what I can see…a black hole. I really think that major reform in that one department could change Belize.

  4. Jim Smith on January 26th, 2024 at 12:19 pm

    We just landed here yesterday, awesome place, my wife is in love!
    Been reading you for approx 6 months, good writing/observation/helpful info.
    Are you going to be in the public next 5 days or so, would like to connect. Jim & Elaine

    • San Pedro Scoop on January 27th, 2024 at 8:56 am

      Hooray! I think the wind will die down tomorrow which is great. I am heading over to the camp…Jeff is turning 55 this weekend…so I’ll be over there for a few days. Have a GREAT vacation!