Local Government Ministry Rolls Out Property Tax Units

Photo: Melroy Sterling Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Desmond McKenzie (left), cuts the ribbon to officially launch the mobile property tax unit in Port Maria, St. Mary, on February 8. Others (from second left) are: Mayor of Port Maria, Councillor Richard Creary; President of the Lay Magistrates Association in St. Mary, Maxine Marsh; and Parish Manager, Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ), St. Mary, Cynthia Gilmore.

Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Local Government and Community Development is employing the use of mobile units as it intensifies efforts to collect over $10 billion in outstanding property taxes.
  • The initiative involves collaboration with Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ).
  • The two units, which have already been deployed to St. Mary and Clarendon, are intended to make it more convenient for persons to pay their property tax.

The Ministry of Local Government and Community Development is employing the use of mobile units as it intensifies efforts to collect over $10 billion in outstanding property taxes.

The initiative involves collaboration with Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ).

The two units, which have already been deployed to St. Mary and Clarendon, are intended to make it more convenient for persons to pay their property tax.

Portfolio Minister, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, informed that over $700,000 have already been collected by the units in the two parishes.

He was speaking at the official launch at the Hi-Lo Supermarket in Port Maria on February 8. The other unit was launched at Bargain Village in May Pen on the same day.

The Minister issued a stern warning to evaders of property taxes to pay up as the Government will be vigorously enforcing the drive to collect outstanding amounts.

He noted that property taxes are used to provide critical services such as garbage collection, street lights and to improve the parochial road network.

“The services cannot be offered freely. In order for the St. Mary municipality to deliver, the residents must play their part and pay their property taxes,” he pointed out, noting that there are mayors, councillors, heads of companies and senior managers, who owe property tax.

Minister McKenzie urged those who owe property tax to make use of the mobile units to settle their arrears. Persons will be required to pay by debit or credit card as no cash transactions will be undertaken by these units.

Meanwhile, the Local Government Minister reiterated his intention to improve garbage collection within the country.

He noted that the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) has procured 11 new garbage trucks, which will arrive within the coming weeks. Additional trucks are also to be acquired at the end of June.

The units will increase garbage collection to twice weekly instead of once per week.

Mr. McKenzie also mentioned that his Ministry will be working assiduously with the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) to improve street lighting across the nation.

A meeting with the light and power company’s Chief Executive Officer, Kelly Tomblin, will be held shortly in that regard.

For his part, Mayor of Port Maria, Councillor Richard Creary, echoed similar sentiments to the Minister on the importance of property tax payment.

He noted that for the 2016-2017 period, approximately $149 million in taxes was collected while $295 million remains outstanding.

He indicated that the mobile unit will travel to Retreat, Gayle, Border and Highgate over the next three days in order to collect outstanding amounts.                      Increased incentives to encourage the payment of property taxes are also being undertaken.

Mayor Creary informed that the community of Balmoral, which has the highest compliance rate, will benefit from a project and a meeting will be held with residents shortly to decide on the undertaking.

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