JIS News

Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Local Government, Hon. Robert Montague, has urged Councillors to identify ways in which the Parish Councils could earn additional revenue.
“Councillors are making representations for more money to spend and very few are making suggestions as to how we could increase the revenue,” he lamented, as he addressed a meeting of the St. Catherine Parish Council on June 29 in Spanish Town.
According to the State Minister, collection of property taxes was one of the fastest ways in which Councils could increase earnings, and urged Councillors to encourage citizens to pay existing and outstanding amounts.
He noted that property taxes were needed for maintaining the fire service, garbage collection, and street lighting. “The street lighting bill and the solid waste bill already far exceed the amount of money collected for property taxes,” Mr. Montague said, noting that the St. Catherine Parish Council has so far collected only 40 per cent of the amount, which was due.
The State Minister disclosed that the Local Government Department was exploring an idea put forward by Councillors of the Manchester Parish Council, which would improve the collection of outstanding taxes.
“Their suggestion is that if they aid in the collection of back taxes they would want a substantial portion of that to be remitted to their Council,” he said.
The proposal, he informed, had to be examined by officials of the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service. “That is a suggestion that we are actively pursuing because as you know, matters dealing with taxation have to have the approval of the Ministry of Finance, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet,” he noted.
Mr. Montague’s address was part of a series of islandwide meetings with local authorities under the theme: ‘A Day in Council’.

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