San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Scant Municipal Funds Spent on Public Works

THE vast majority of municipal budgetsgo toward salaries, services andmaterials. Only 4% goes to maintainingand building streets, bridges, aqueductsand water-treatment plants, the daily LaNación reported.Of the ¢99 billion ($210 million) thatthe country’s 81 municipalities managedin 2004, only ¢2.8 billion ($5.9 million)went toward public-works projects,according to a report from theComptroller General’s office.Municipalities did not invest much ininfrastructure projects, nor did they use allof their funds in 2004. Approximately ¢29billion ($61.6 million) were left over.Of the funds that were spent, 76%were used for salaries, services and buyinga variety of materials; 5% for the purchaseof machinery and equipment; 9%for transfers required by law, such as toschools; and 4% for public works, accordingto La Nación.The primary sources of municipalfunds are business licenses, fees for servicessuch as water and trash collection,and property taxes.

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