History Made – NA Municipal council collects $50M in taxes

─ ‘Residents are being urged to pay their outstanding property taxes’

─ persons found littering will be fined

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, January 10, 2019

The Municipality of New Amsterdam is reporting that it has collected five times as much property taxes in 2018 compared to that of the previous year, 2017. In addition, it has successfully collected 78 per cent of its budgeted taxes for the year 2018.

For the first time in its history, the municipality tax collection has met the $50M mark, $54.3M in property taxes were collected. More significant is the $18M in interest on arrears collected. The arrears were $6M.

The Town’s Treasurer, Kerriann Edwards, says this milestone was achieved as a result of the emphasis placed on visiting homes to get persons to pay outstanding amounts during last year. However, she noted that on many occasions, they found that no one was occupying the property, and the lot was taken over with thick vegetation. Many of those property owners are currently overseas.

The new approach is in keeping with the municipality’s drive to accumulate money to return the town to its former glory. However, the necessary cooperation from some residents leaves much to be desired, the council explained.

Meanwhile, residents have accused the municipality of not doing enough since increasing property tax by 100 per cent as from January 1, 2018.

The council, in its drive to ensure compliance and increase its revenue collection, will be publicising the names of those residents who have significant amounts outstanding.

According to Officer in Charge of the Town Constabulary, Charles Roberts, the council will be visiting persons to encourage compliance. Failure to comply may result in photographs of their property being published along with the amount owed to the council.

“I implore upon you to visit the Treasurer’s Department urgently to avoid the inconvenience as it relates to those persons who would have been delinquent. As it relates to paying their rates and taxes that are owed to the council” he said.

The municipality is also set to take strong actions against persons who park their vehicle in streets, blocking the entrance of the residents. Roberts said the council has been receiving numerous complaints and will be acting on those complaints.

The municipality is also declared zero tolerance for illegal vending in the town and has promised to get tough on persons found littering.

“Skid bins have been placed in strategic locations for domestic waste only, yet commercial waste is being seen in those bins. We are appealing to those errant business persons to desist and to be warned since a new initiative is in place,” Roberts explained that persons will be placed before the courts if found littering.

The Municipal Council is encouraging persons to take pictures or video of persons found littering and submit them. If found guilty, these persons will be fined and the photographer rewarded.

“You can use your phones and take photographs. Those persons ought to be visible in the photograph or a vehicle number visible so that we can police that aspect of it and have those persons arrested. They will be fined, and 50 per cent of that fine will be given to the person bringing the photograph to the council,” Roberts explained.

The fine for individuals found guilty of littering is $10,000, while businesses will have to pay $100,000.

Story and images: Tanuja Raikha.