Puerto Rico will have a new treasurer at the start of 2008 as Jose Guillermo Davila, executive director of the office of management and budget, will replace outgoing Treasurer Juan Carlos Mendez.Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila last week announced the personnel change and said he is very grateful for Mendez’s services. Mendez is leaving his position at the end of the month for personal reasons, according to commonwealth officials. Davila will move to the Treasury Department on Jan.1 and Armando Valdes, the governor’s economic development adviser, will replace Davila at the OMB.Mendez has been Puerto Rico’s treasurer for three years, after joining the administration in January 2005. Treasury spokeswoman, Carla Martorell, said Mendez is leaving to spend more time with his family.“This kind of position in the government, you have to make a lot of sacrifices,” Martorell said.The personnel changes come as the administration is working on the commonwealth’s fiscal 2009 budget. Acevedo Vila presented the fiscal 2008 budget at the end of April, the first budget of his administration that also incorporated the island’s first-ever sales tax, a 5.5% tax officials implemented in mid-November of 2006. The island ended fiscal 2007 with a roughly $322 million deficit, according to Rep. Angel Perez, head of the House budget committee. That figure is unaudited, but could grow by the end of fiscal 2008, which is June 30. Administration officials would like to fill the $322 million shortfall by diverting $240 million of funds previously tagged to help pay down debt the government owes to the Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico. That shifting of funds has yet to gain legislative approval.

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