Local Government Seeks Added Source of Funding to Repair Parochial Roads

Photo: JIS Photographer Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie. (FILE)

Story Highlights

  • Discussions are advanced with the Finance and the Public Service Ministry to find an added source of funding to repair, maintain and rehabilitate parochial roads across the island.
  • Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, made the disclosure on day one of a series of regional sensitisation sessions for elected local government officials, at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston, today (January 4).
  • Meanwhile, Mr. McKenzie is urging councillors to pay their property taxes and licensing fees on time.

Discussions are advanced with the Finance and the Public Service Ministry to find an added source of funding to repair, maintain and rehabilitate parochial roads across the island.

Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, made the disclosure on day one of a series of regional sensitisation sessions for elected local government officials, at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston, yesterday (January 4).

Mr. McKenzie noted that the funds will come from a source other than the one dedicated to fund such activities – the Parochial Revenue Fund.

“Of the 27,000 kilometres of road network in the country, the local authorities have responsibility for almost 23,000 kilometres… .What is given to the local authorities for road maintenance is not adequate,” he said.

Mr. McKenzie is hoping that the money will be allocated in the upcoming financial year, which begins on April 1.

Discussions are also being held within the Ministry to provide councillors with some funding to maintain offices in their respective divisions.

Meanwhile, Mr. McKenzie is urging councillors to pay their property taxes and licensing fees on time.

Addressing councillors from Kingston and St. Andrew, and St. Thomas, Mr McKenzie said they will have no “moral authority” to urge citizens to pay property taxes if they themselves do not do so as elected representatives.

“It is morally incorrect for us as elected representatives to serve notices on residents to pay property taxes and you, as elected representatives, who own property, are not paying your property taxes,” he said.

Regarding those councillors operating businesses that “accumulate in excess of half-a-million dollars in one calendar year”, Mr. McKenzie advised that these individuals will become eligible to pay a trade licence fee.

The Minister informed that a list of all councillors who have outstanding property taxes and trade licence fees will be provided to the municipal corporations in a few weeks, with a view to having them regularise their payments.

Mr. McKenzie urged councillors to attend committee meetings because of their importance, noting that they can “make and break” the municipal corporations.

The interactive orientation sessions, which are being held between January and February, are designed to expose councillors to the range of duties they must perform as representatives of their divisions and as collective municipal and civic representatives.

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