Penang island council tables RM14m deficit budget for 2020

Opalyn Mok
Councillors assemble as Penang Mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang chairs the Budget meeting in George Town September 18, 2019. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, Sept 18 ― The Penang Island City Council (MBPP) today tabled a deficit budget of RM14.26 million for 2020 with additional revenue expected after it revised assessment rates for next year.

Mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang said MBPP expects RM451.7 million in revenue and spend RM465.96 million next year.

“The revenue from assessment rates is expected to increase by 62.44 per cent to RM282.02 million due to a review in assessment rates,” he said when reading out the MBPP Budget 2020 speech at City Hall here.

He said it will be an increase of RM58.15 million compared to the RM223.87 million collected this year.

Yew said the council’s deficit will be cut by about 85 per cent for 2020 compared to the RM94 million deficit budget tabled for 2019.

He added that MBPP has proactively worked to improve its finances and had successfully collected arrears in assessment rates and quit rent from ratepayers of RM19.76 million as at July.

The projected expenditure for 2020 will also be lower compared to RM506.03 million in 2019.

A total RM211.99 million was allocated for projects in five main domains, cleaner (RM71.15 million), greener (RM9.11 million), safer (RM11.37 million), healthier (RM1.53 million) and public amenities and infrastructure (RM118.83 million).

The RM71.15 million allocated for a cleaner city involved solid waste management, cleaning of drainage and roads, capacity building on waste segregation and maintaining cleanliness of public toilets.

“The reduction of solid waste has the potential of reducing greenhouse gas by about 20 per cent so we will continue to encourage and focus on waste segregation to reduce the amount of waste going into the landfills,” he said.

The RM118.83 million allocated for public amenities and infrastructure included the upgrading of hawkers complexes, food courts and waste disposal collection centres.

The Campbell Street market will be upgraded and given a facelift through a Request for Proposal (RFP) exercise with an allocation of RM2.4 million, a new market and food complex will be built in Teluk Kumbar at RM2 million and the Batu Lanchang Market will be upgraded at RM1.2 million.

“The council will need to improve its services so a total RM14.48 million will be allocated next year to implement improvement and upgrading projects for MBPP’s premises,” he said.

A new five-storey MBPP building will be built at RM8.5 million in Jalan Timah, the MBPP offices in Komtar will be renovated at RM3.1 million and the MBPP Club House in Jalan Perak will be upgraded at RM2 million.

As for other infrastructure works, RM37.35 million was allocated for the Bukit Kukus Paired Road project, which is expected to be completed next year.

MBPP also allocated RM1.3 million to continue with the five free shuttle bus services, Centra Area Transit, in George Town.

A further RM8.08 million was allocated for the maintenance of street signs, bus stops, traffic lights, traffic signs and public amenities.

The city council also allocated RM5.50 million to upgrade the drainage system at Sungai Jelutong along Jalan P. Ramlee.

“In our efforts to turn George Town into a walkable city, we allocated RM1.03 million to upgrade and expand pedestrian walkways around George Town,” he said.

He said the 2020 budget is in line with the state government’s vision for a family focused, green and smart state that inspire the nation by 2030.

He said the budget focuses on public engagement and improving infrastructure and amenities for the public towards achieving its objective of becoming a compassionate council.

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