January 20, 2021
Upon entering office in March 2018, Mayor Rigo Vellos and the Corozal Town Council met unsustainable debt at Town Hall due to maladministration during the 12-year UDP/Hilberto Campos-regime. None more prominent than the $1.377 Million contract signed with Imer Hernandez Development Company in February 2017 for the paving of six streets. This agreement set out a schedule of monthly payments over a period of 10 years, and included the stipulation that in the months January to March, the entire Government subvention be paid towards the contract.
This financial obligation has been the main cause of financial strife for the Corozal Town Council, putting pressure for monthly payments over the past three years. Past attempts by the Council to request the re-negotiation of the contract to lower payments did not succeed. However, one last attempt late last year proved successful, and on January 13, Mayor Rigo Vellos and Imer Hernandez Development Company agreed to new payment terms.
The re-negotiation of the terms will lower payments while extending the completion year. This will give much-needed financial breathing room to the Corozal Town Council, which amidst Covid-19 times has had to implement numerous austerity measures including a reduction of salaries to 75% (sanitation workers continued to receive their full salary), a shift-system work schedule, and focused prioritisation for spending. These measures have ensured that no employee has been fired during Covid-19, in support of families.
The re-negotiation will now allow a significant restoration of salaries for Council workers affected by Covid-19 measures. Additionally, the Council has seen it fit to consider a relief program for sectors of the business community that have been most impacted by Covid-19.
The Council, under the leadership of Mayor Rigo Vellos, has ensured sound financial stewardship, even in unprecedented challenging times, while still delivering on various projects that have enhanced our municipality.
With greater support from the new Briceño Government, much more will be done!