Mayor of Kingston, Councillor Desmond McKenzie, has urged land owners to pay their property taxes, which is an essential source of funding for Local Government activities.
“I take this opportunity to encourage…all Jamaican property owners to co-operate and pay your taxes, because it is so essential to the basic requirements for the effective running of the country,” Mr. McKenzie said.
The Mayor was addressing the launch of the National Solid Waste Management Authority’s (NSWMA) Public Relations Campaign, at the Courtleigh Hotel and Suites, New Kingston on Wednesday (April 7).
He pointed out that, despite several measures in place to encourage payment of property taxes, the compliance rate is only 55 per cent, adding that he was of the hope that stark laws be put in place to discourage non-compliance.
“I’m longing to see the day when a law is instituted that persons who continue to defy the system and fail to pay your property taxes, you lose it, and it becomes the property of the state,” he said.
Mayor of Kingston, Councillor Desmond McKenzie addressing the launch of the National Solid Waste Management Authority’s (NSWMA) 2010-2011 Public Relations Campaign, at the Courtleigh Hotel and Suites, New Kingston on Wednesday (April 7). Pictured at the head table from left, are Master of Ceremony, Jerry Davy; Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), Peter Knight; and Executive Director of the NSWMA, Joan Gordon Webley.
The Mayor stated that the non-payment of property taxes has affected several of the country’s operations, such as the cleaning of gullies and drains, the provision of street lights and the effective collection of garbage. Mentioning the controversy about the quality of garbage collection, he noted that when these taxes are not paid, then there are no funds to meet the cost of garbage collection.
“No matter how patriotic Jamaicans (they) are, these men and women are not going to go out there to collect the garbage and take it to the landfill if there is no money to pay them,” he stated.
Pointing to the new increases in property taxes, Mayor McKenzie noted that this will provide additional funds for the maintenance and expansion of street lighting; collection and disposal of solid waste; community infrastructure and beautification; the administration of Local Authorities; and the rehabilitation of parochial roads.
“Property taxes are not used to put on cocktail parties, it is not used to finance overseas trips, it is used for your own personal benefit,” he added.
However, he said it was time for the Government to revisit property taxes rates, as it was unfair for some persons to be paying a meagre $9-10,000 a year for properties valued up to $100 million.
Mr. McKenzie said it was the ‘big’ individuals who can afford it who are evading paying property tax, while the burden falls on the ‘small’ people. He also reminded the audience that there would be no waivers this year, as some persons wanted to make it “a habit.”