10 million for garbage collection

POSTED: 04/15/13 1:51 PM

St. Maarten -The increase in garbage collection remains on the Draft 2013 Budget for a cost of 1.2 million guilders. Minister of Vromi William Marlin said that this had nothing to do with the increase in fees or contracts for 2012. Approximately 800 thousand guilders was required to bring the budget up to the level of the contracted agreements of 10.788,000 guilders per year.

“It would appear at the first sight that there was an increase but it was an error in the budget of 2012 why this amount of 800 thousand guilders had to be added.

Another 400 thousand guilders was placed in the Draft 2013 Budget for the purchase of new garbage bins to be given to contractors for the execution of their duties. Current garbage contracts are for a period 5 years to the tune of 53.891,000 thousand guilders. The contracts were signed in 2011 and are set to end in 2016.

The contractors are Leonard Enterprises, Meadowlands, All Waste in Place, Clean St. Maarten.

Part of the garbage collection contract includes road side cleaning. On Friday, United People’s Party MP Jules James requested clarification on whether the road cleaning was being done consistently in the various districts.  He also asked that copies of the various contracts be provided.

“How will the increase of the 800 thousand be used and what are the locations identified for the placement of the garbage bins,” James asked.

The Independent Romain Laville also requested that the Minister of Vromi provide information on the garbage contracts for several districts. He opined that jobs should have been given to young people in various districts, instead of the government being locked into an agreement with big contractors.

“There has been nothing left for them to do until this contract expires. How can we now assist the young men in the different areas who want to take care of their districts? Because of a cartel approach it is difficult for these young men to get that opportunity. We want to solve our crime, we get upset when they fall victim to the system, we want them to become productive and take care of their families.  But those who were in power decided to eat the pie for a single few,” Laville said.

Based on suggestions made by Democratic Party MP Roy Marlin, the minister said that it was possible for a fee to be introduced for sewerage processing for homes or business that are connected to the main sewerage line. Marlin however cautioned that many people in the community cannot afford to pay an additional fee with smaller incomes than big businesses. Minister Marlin said that a levy of 32 guilders as part of the budget that is charged on businesses in Philipsburg. The cost, the minister reasoned, could be easily absorbed by businesses by raising the price on some of their retail items or recording it as an operational expense for tax purposes.

Minister Marlin gave examples such as residents in South Reward, Ebenezer and Belvedere, who while complaining about sewerage issues, do not have the ability to pay the 32 guilders fee.

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