POLITICS

Bucharest mayor at war with General Council over budget

The General Council of the Bucharest Municipality (CGMB) on Saturday passed the Bucharest budget proposed by Social Liberal Union (USL) councilors with nearly 80 amendments and all. Democrat-Liberal councilors left the hall before the vote while those with the People’s Party Dan Diaconescu (PPDD) abstained from voting. The 2013 Bucharest general budget matches RON 4.52bln, of which the local component equals RON 3.8bln. The remainder represents the funds to hospitals, health insurance house and other own revenues by whereby hospitals sustain the spending the  municipality cannot legally pay for, as well as staff pay along with money to cultural and art institutions.

The budget changes operated by the CCMB largely consist of money transfers from some budget chapters to others, including an extra RON 30 M to the budget of the Bucharest Public transport Utility (RATB), RON 60 M to heating utility RADET, a RON 5 M cut from the budget of the Municipal Sports Club and a RON 2.9 M increase in food allocations for socially-assisted people. Another modification regards local budget additions of up to RON 82.9 M for fines, granting concessions, rented spaces and other revenues.Right from the start of the budget discussions, General Mayor Sorin Oprescu told the Council: “We have two alternatives – we either go together on this, or sit on the opposite sides of the barricade.” Oprescu also vowed to oppose implantation of a councilor-ordered budget no matter how they would vote on it. After the vote, Oprescu said that the CGMB-passed budget is a parallel one born spontaneously, in the morning, a political-command budget,” which does nothing but destroys all the fields of activity. Oprescu said two things caught his attention when the changes were read, namely that money was taken from investments “about to be completed” and their illegality. “I don’t believe this budget could be both functional and legal and could bring the proof of opportunity,” the mayor said about the budget. Asked what he was going to do over the council-voted budget, the general mayor said that, once the executive body of the municipal institution has conducted an analysis into the issue, it could challenge the approved budget in court.

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