PDP Mayors Discuss Concerns, Pending Matters With García Padilla
SAN JUAN — About 30 Popular Democratic Party (PDP) mayors met Tuesday with Gov. Alejandro García Padilla at La Fortaleza, where they discussed several matters affecting the island’s municipalities.
The impact of Promesa and other local legislative measures on municipalities, funds still withheld at the Government Development Bank (GDB), and the Zika virus were among the topics addressed at the conclave.
“We have various topics that we want to discuss with the governor,” said Mayors Association President and Cayey Mayor Rolando Ortiz, echoing similar comments made by PDP mayors upon their arrival to the governor’s mansion. Earlier Tuesday, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz said she won’t attend the meeting.
The reunion began just past 4 p.m. and was attended by some government officials, including Treasury Secretary Juan Zaragoza, Office of Management & Budget Luis Cruz, Health Secretary Ana Ríus and Economic Development Secretary & GDB President Alberto Bacó Bagué.
“I believe it’s about money. If not, I wouldn’t be here,” Zaragoza told reporters on his way into La Fortaleza when asked about the meeting’s agenda. He noted that any funding requests must be contemplated under the fiscal year 2017 budget.
When asked by Caribbean Business whether budgeted funds are being disbursed, Zaragoza said they are, but on a limited basis. “For operational spending, from now to December, it must be half [the assignment]. It would be prorated monthly. In July, we didn’t pay anything…we begin in August,” he said.
“There are important [disbursement] petitions from mayors, not only with services, but also economic development,” said Cruz, although stressing that the government must continue to closely monitor its cash flow, “find the money and maximize its use.”