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Mayors Association, Federation leaders to sign collaborative agreement with governor


By Pedro Correa Henry

Twitter: @pete_r_correa

Special to The Star


The presidents of the Puerto Rico Mayors Association (AAPR by its Spanish initials) and Mayors Federation (FAPR), Luis Javier Hernández Ortiz and Ángel Pérez Otero, respectively, announced Wednesday that in the coming days they will sign a collaborative agreement with Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia to address fiscal issues jointly.


Noting that such an agreement has never been made before, Hernández Ortiz said it is a positive move that benefits “both the municipalities and the people who live in our towns.”


“A great part of the campaign promises is similar between the Popular [Democratic] Party [PDP] and the New Progressive Party [NPP],” the Villalba mayor said, acknowledging after the meeting that his and the Guaynabo mayor’s agendas share similar concerns and aspirations.


The Mayors Association groups PDP mayors, while the Mayors Federation is composed of NPP mayors.


“So, we have intertwined that agenda into one to give the country an example of how things should be done,” Hernández Ortiz said. “Obviously, today we recognize that the governor is the one who sets the executive agenda and he has to define the path to follow regarding decentralization, regarding the Law 29 issue, regarding the equalization fund issue, regarding the hierarchy that the municipalities are already following, which must be compensated with money, and other things that we are willing to do to, in some way, bring services closer to the people.”


“If the municipalities receive these resources, we all win, the country moves forward,” he added. “I thank the governor and I see him as focused on the situation we have in the municipalities.”


Hernández Ortiz said the governor will summon both the AAPR and the FAPR presidents soon to sign a consensus document.


When members of the press asked about the content of the agreement, Pérez Otero said he could not specify its content out of deference to Pierluisi, who is still evaluating certain points of the deal.


However, the Guaynabo mayor said the governor was committed to eliminating bureaucracy between the central government and the municipalities, in addition to expediting reconstruction projects resulting from hurricanes Irma and Maria as well as the earthquakes in the south of the island and the coronavirus pandemic.


“For the first time, and this is a historic moment, both [mayors’] organizations have united with only one goal, which is to work for the municipalities, not as a private estate, but as a team,” Pérez Otero said.


As for the equalization funds, which total around $135 million, Pérez Otero said the governor asked the federal Financial Oversight and Management Board to ensure that the funds are not eliminated, at least not the reduced amount that remains after an additional cut of $44 million.


The matter is included in the Fiscal Plan.

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