The military-appointed Pattaya City Council is considering cutting up to 40 million baht from city projects, including the Pattaya Music Festival and New Year’s Countdown, to spend on flood control, waste disposal and education.
City Council Chairman Anan Angkanawisan presided over an Aug. 18 meeting, the first of several planned, to discuss which projects should be cut and where the diverted funds would go. The session came after the Office of the Auditor-General in July said Pattaya’s former elected leaders wasted public funds by duplicating projects, such as neighborhood cleanups and youth football tournaments.
Anan argued that there was 30-40 million baht allocated to projects that are not necessary or of any benefit to the city. In addition, he maintained, huge budgets for annual tourism-driving events such as the music festival and year-end concert series are no longer necessary as they don’t attract the crowds they once did.
Instead, money should be put where the greatest needs are, especially flood control, he said.
The Chonburi Engineering Public Works Department recently estimated that the only way to permanently solve Pattaya’s flood-drainage problem is to completely re-do it, as was done in Baan Suan. The cost to do so could total upwards of 1 billion baht, Anan said.
Likewise, Pattaya officials discovered another 1 billion baht could be needed to construct a garbage disposal and recycling facility adequate to Pattaya’s needs and on par with what is operated in Samut Prakan Province. Pattaya, meanwhile, is looking at opening a new dump in Khao Maikaew, where a resident uprising forced the closure of the city’s previous landfill.
Education-wise, the council wants to develop Pattaya School No. 11 as the city’s center for training English teachers for a world-class language course to lead Pattaya into the ASEAN Economic Community.
Traffic also remains a concern, but the council put off discussion of projects to resolve the congestion to another day.