JIS News

Minister of Local Government, Community Development and Sports, Portia Simpson Miller has said that up to December 2003, property taxes collected amounted to $1.14 billion, while motor vehicle licence fees were $668.26 million, for a grand total of $1.8 billion.
She pointed out that the collections had surpassed the amount for the 2002/03 fiscal year, as some $844.93 million was generated from property taxes, and $653.42 million from vehicle licence fees, making a total of $1.50 billion.
The Minister also noted that the 2002/03 property tax figure was an increase of about $200 million over the 2001/02 figure of $645.2 million.
Addressing a recent regional consultation of community groups from Kingston and St. Andrew, St. Thomas and St. Catherine at the Jamaica Conference Centre, the Minister accredited the rise in the revenues to the improved working relationship among the key agencies responsible for the collection of these taxes.
“With the increased role of the Ministry of Local Government in the compliance activities related to property tax and the increased collaboration among the local authorities, the Inland Revenue Department and the Ministry of Local Government, significant increases have resulted in the amount collected for property tax,” she explained.
The Minister noted that for the 2002/03 period, the Ministry of Local Government provided $820.58 million to pay for public cleansing and street lights as well as the administrative expenses of the parish councils. She said that for the financial year to date, the Ministry had spent $408.51 million on public cleansing and street lighting in the councils.
On the matter of fire services, Minister Simpson Miller said approximately $1.3 billion would be allocated to fund the operations of the country’s fire stations for the next financial year.
Conceding that the physical infrastructure at many of the island’s fire stations was in need of attention, she said that the Ministry was in the process of organizing a rehabilitation programme for repairs.
The next consultation is scheduled to take place at the Jamaica Grande Hotel in St. Ann on March 18, with community groups being invited from the parishes of Portland, St. Mary and St. Ann, while the final consultation will take place on March 24 at the Holiday Inn in St. James with participation from community groups from Trelawny, St. James and Westmoreland. Both sessions will begin at 10:00 a.m.The consultations are being held across the island to facilitate feedback from citizens on issues such as community development, local government reform and community sports development.

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