When new mayors take office they frequently find fault with the financial situation left by the previous administration. That’s the case in the five municipalities in Baja California but in two of those both new mayors and old were from the same party.
The mayor of Mexicali, the second largest municipality in the state in terms of population, told the newspaper Reforma that finances were in “critical and serious” condition, and that the bank accounts were all but empty.
The municipality’s debt totals 1.9 billion pesos (almost US $94 million), while various other liabilities add up to another 773 million.
Mexicali also owes 582 million pesos to the state employees’ social security institute (Issstecali).
“The bank has checks totaling 2 million pesos for which there are no funds; [the previous administration] left us penniless,” said Gustavo Sánchez.
A similar situation exists in Ensenada, a municipality that covers close to three-quarters of the state’s territory.
Mayor Marco Antonio Novelo described Ensenada’s finances as “collapsed.” Having just taken office this month, his administration owes 5 million pesos ($247,000) in salaries to the police department.
The municipal administration has a debt of 695 million pesos and owes 585 million to Issstecali, plus 1.7 billion in assorted liabilities.
The municipality of Tijuana, with the largest population in the state, doesn’t have enough funds to pay this month’s salaries and year-end bonuses to its staff.
“There’s no money . . . the last treasurer lied to us . . . they left us 24 million pesos but reported they were leaving more than 100 million. And what is left is already allocated,” said Mayor Juan Manuel Gastélum.
“This is a distressing situation; municipal staff have agreed to be paid only in part, but in the end we’ll have to pay them what is owed, we’re only waiting for a credit to be approved,” added the mayor.
The mayors of the municipalities of Tecate and Playas de Rosarito have reported similar circumstances.
In Ensenada and Tecate the mayors belong to the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), as did their predecessors.
In Mexicali, Tijuana and Playas de Rosarito, outgoing PRI mayors were replaced by members of the National Action Party (PAN).
Source: Reforma (sp)