June 15, 2021

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Municipality of San Juan awaits a payment plan to settle debt with the Retirement System

After the transition hearings between the administrations of the mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulín Cruz, and the elected candidate Miguel Romero revealed that the capital owes $ 96 million to the Administration of Retirement Systems (ASR), the president Outgoing informed today, Thursday, that they are waiting for a payment plan to pay off the debt.

“Of course they are due because the law told us that we did not have to pay it and, later, they came to charge us a year later. But we, like so many other municipalities, have been trying to make a payment plan with the retirement system, ”Cruz said at the press conference where he announced his resignation from the municipal seat.

Law 29 of 2019 exempted the municipalities from their contribution for the payment of the health plan and pensions. However, the Fiscal Oversight Board (JSF) successfully challenged the statute in federal court, forcing municipalities to pay off their debts.

According to the outgoing mayor, since September this year, she has met with representatives of the Board to reach an agreement with the ASR, but they have not received the cooperation of the latter institution.

“This Monday that has just passed, caused by the Board, we were going to have a meeting right here in the Luis Muñoz Marín Park, and the ASR left the Board and the municipality of San Juan planted … They have asked us for things that they have not asked any municipality, including that we desist from the case in court, “he said.

An audit of the current administration revealed that the pension was being paid “to dead people, people who never worked in the municipality of San Juan, people who had never been a government employee” and that, therefore, they had to subtract $ 11 million from the sum sent to the ASR, detailed Cruz. The municipality sued the entity in charge of pensioners’ pensions and the case is still in the Appeals Court.

According to the mayor, the first year of her administration she had to pay $ 12 million to the ASR; currently, the capital is required to meet $ 56 million annually. The debt of the capital includes the balance of fiscal year 2019 and the months that have elapsed in 2020.

The payment plan to be negotiated stipulates that the debt will be paid, in the next six years, at a rate of $ 16 million annually. However, Cruz indicated that, in the coming days, a payment of $ 14 million will be made through the Municipal Revenue Collection Center (CRIM), reducing the debt to $ 82 million.

“You (Romero) voted in favor of a law that caused damage to the municipality that you now want to lead. Here, there is a payment plan that they have not approved. I have no doubt (that it is) for partisan political reasons, ”said Cruz, who next year will serve as a lobbyist for the Association of Mayors in the federal capital.

“Miguel Romero is going to have to make, surely, a decision: if he defends the money of the people of San Juan or if he gives up the lawsuit and kneels before the Retirement Board… The senator wove his web; now, he has to decide whether to get out of it, “added the mayor.

According to Cruz, the transition committee of the incoming administration recognized, in an executive hearing, that “the situation that San Juan is going through is not a situation created by the municipality, but created by this measure (Law 29)” .

The popular mayor also stated that she leaves the municipality with $ 50 million in its account and $ 20 million in debts, some of these are current.

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