Work Finally Begins
Dry season is the time do the majority of Municipal construction projects, and this year is no different. As a departure from last administrations “lease all equipment you can” the Roatan Municipality under Mayor Julio Galindo has amassed plenty of hardware to reduce costs. Municipality claims to have saved 12 Million Lempiras ($635,000), by not renting heavy equipment from local equipment suppliers in seven weeks alone. On April 16, Roatan Municipality has added more equipment to its fleet: a tractor, road grader, back hoe, two dump trucks, a low-boy and a garbage compactor truck. “We now own five garbage trucks,” said Mayor Galindo.
This most recent acquisition of equipment put the municipality out of pocket $450,000. With island equipment rentals high: $125/ hour for a tractor, $105/ hour for road grader, $65/ hour back hoe, the investment is expected to bring returns. “We had zero equipment when I came [as mayor] to the municipality,” said Mayor Galindo.
According to Mayor Galindo, under previous administration Roatan Municipality would spend Lps. 240,000 ($12,700) a month to rent the garbage trucks. “We purchased some old garbage compactor trucks from the US for $40 and $60 thousand dollars. We can’t afford new ones,” said mayor Galindo.
Almost half, 105 out of 215 people working at the Roatan Municipality is either sweeping the streets, driving dump trucks or maintaining the garbage dump — basically half the Roatan municipality runs to keep the island clean.
When asked about the Honduran Government’s progress with building a new Roatan Hospital Mayor Galindo responded: “Forget the [central] government. We can build our own hospital.” Municipality official says that Central American Bank has approved the idea of the loan, at 5% interest and 14-year repayment schedule. The best thing for Roatanians seems to be that the money for the hospital would come from the cruise ship per-passenger money’s that keeps disappearing in Tegucigalpa. “I’m basically committing the government of Honduras to make the payments,” said Mayor Galindo about the planned public-private 150 bed hospital in Dixon Cove.
The construction on the West End road and sever system, after a few false starts and over a month delayed that work has finally begun. Five companies won bids in Roatan Municipals West End project. ACME Environmental was awarded a black water treatment plant project. “Based on the technical circumstances, ACME was awarded the project on emergency basis,” said Mayor Galindo. “They also agreed to maintain the facility for a year free of charge.” ACME is to receive $457,000 for its services and the entire West End project is bid out at Lps. 52 million. “It’s the biggest municipal project in history. The first one that asked for national bids,” said Mayor Galindo.
The sewer pipe bid of Lps. 19 million went to a team of two companies from the mainland, a bid for road paving went to Isnardi’s (Lps. 18 million), Ivan Jones’ company has a bid (around Lps. 7 Million) for new potable water piping.
The 2003-2004 paving of the main street in Coxen Hole was a traumatic event for both local businesses and town residents. It remains to be seen how disruptive the West End construction process will be to the livelihood of local businesses. [/private]