April 23, 2021

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Municipal Code approved with amendments

The House of Representatives approved the Municipal Code tonight, and with amendments.

In total, there are 11 laws that will be incorporated into the Code. The Municipal Code is divided into seven books: Municipal Government, Administration, Essential Services, Municipal Processes and Community Management, Economic Development, Planning and Territorial Planning and Municipal Finance.

As it is a project of the Senate approved with amendments, the legislative bodies need to discuss whether or not they agree with the changes.

The legislative piece was not debated or presented tonight in the session, but changes such as the elimination of the language it provided were included step to a reconfiguration of the tax that the telecommunications companies have to pay. The language that gave way to a salary increase for the mayors of towns with 25,000 inhabitants or less was also eliminated and a text was also clarified to prevent municipalities from establishing municipal corporations that, in turn, compete with small and medium-sized merchants.

This had been a repeated denunciation of unions such as the United Center for Retailers and the Chamber of Commerce that maintained that the language with which the Senate measure came out would take place so that there would be unfair competition between the municipalities, whose corporations do not pay patents or excise taxes, and small and medium-sized merchants.

Likewise, the language that eliminated the cap of $ 150,000 in emergency purchases without having to carry out auctions was removed from the project.

Among other things, the project declares public policy to grant municipalities the maximum possible autonomy and provide them with financial and fiscal tools. It is emphasized that one of its inherent powers is to impose taxes, although the caveat is that this power should not be incompatible with the same power that the State also exercises. It also provides that any legislative measure that imposes financial obligations or affects the fiscal revenues of municipal governments must identify and allocate the necessary resources.

The project incorporates the concept of consortia and a variant, more flexible in legal and structure, known as inter-municipal alliances, requires the public auction when purchases exceed $ 100,000 in materials, equipment, groceries, medicines and other supplies of the same nature, when they exceed $ 200,000 in construction works or public improvements by contract and in any sale or lease of personal and real property.

In the case of purchases of less than $ 100,000 for materials, equipment, groceries and other supplies, three quotes will be required. If not obtained, the responsible employee must record the reasons in a document.

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