“I love San José: San José is my city.” With a new slogan that promises a cleanup campaign, San José Mayor Maureen Clarke this week unveiled a ¢43 billion (about $78.2 million) budget, the highest in the city’s history.
Five-billion colones (just over $9 million), about 10 percent of the total, will go toward dealing with San José’s tarnished image. Clarke said the municipality plans to put this sum toward environmental education and management, as well as programs for cleaning streets and rivers, planting trees and collecting garbage. The city plans to purchase six new garbage trucks, though the mayor said trash collection is not the only solution.
“I believe that the amount of garbage in the city isn’t due to the problem of garbage collection but to a need to implement respect in our city,” said Clarke. This instigated the launch of the “I love San José” campaign, with the slogan to be plastered on stickers throughout the city.
Previously deputy mayor, Clarke took the municipality’s top job earlier this month when former Mayor Johnny Araya stepped down to begin campaigning for president.
Clarke announced another 2 billion colones (more than $3.6 million) will be spent on road work projects, including plans to repave Avenida 10, between Calles 8 and 11, and other downtown streets badly in need of repair.
Aside from money for new initiatives, the municipality has allocated funds for projects still under construction, such as Paseo de Las Damas, the section of Avenida 3 that runs from Parque Nacional to Parque España. The project is about 30 percent complete, but the planned sidewalks, public and green spaces are still pending.
Budget plans also call for making sidewalks throughout the city more accessible for the elderly and people with disabilities.
Clarke said the municipality also will continue its support for women seeking to enter the workplace or be promoted.
Though she acknowledged Ticas have come a long way, the mayor said it is 10 times harder for women to be considered as equals in the workplace, and “300 times harder as a politician.”