The governor-elect of Coahuila spent lavishly on school washrooms and topes, or speed bumps, during his term as mayor of Torreón.
Public works spending by the administration of Miguel Ángel Riquelme Solís from 2014 to 2016 is currently being reviewed by his successor, Jorge Zermeño Infante, who has uncovered some unusual amounts spent by the Municipal Development Planning Committee, or Copladem.
One was last year’s construction of a 75-square-meter washroom for a primary school: it cost over 845,000 pesos (more than US $45,000). Although the washroom was finished, it remains out of service.
The newspaper El Universal visited the school and found the facility was still not operational because, according to school officials, it had not yet been connected to the water supply.
There was more costly construction at another primary school in 2015: a 76.32-square-meter washroom for more than 800,000 pesos.
During the first year of the Riquelme administration two 46.8-square-meter washrooms were built in other schools for over 610,000 pesos each.
A school official said when they requested a new classroom, the municipal administration estimated it would cost 1.5 million pesos.
“We know that’s too much and we disagreed with the price given, but that’s what they said it would cost; the expenditures on the washrooms are very high, that’s the reality,” said the official.
In the Torreón real estate market, 150-square-meter homes go for between 750,000 and 850,000 pesos.
It wasn’t just washrooms that were high-priced, but topes as well.
The municipality spent over half a million pesos to install five — 100,000 pesos, or US $5,500, for each one.
Two of the topes were built by a firm that charged the municipality close to half a million pesos for a 127.10-meter-long perimeter wall.
Riquelme is a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) while his successor is with the National Action Party (PAN), so further zeal in uncovering excessive spending can be expected.
Source: El Universal (sp)