JIS News

The Portmore Municipality has planned a budget of $152.2 million for the 2004/05 financial year, with the intention of earning a similar amount for the period.
Mayor of Portmore, George Lee made the announcement when he addressed the residents at a public hearing, held on February 5 in the community.
He pointed out that the budget has been approved by the Citizens Advisory Council.
The Mayor noted that roads, drains, mosquito control, solid waste management, parks and beautification, and street lighting would be the main priorities of the Council in the new fiscal year.
About $60.3 million has been allocated in the estimates to fund these programmes. In addition, he said the Council would focus on community welfare programmes, including intervention in the areas of early childhood education, a senior citizens programme, a summer programme and assistance to community organizations.
Mr. Lee said even though some $27.8 million has been allocated for drains and road maintenance, the Council would ask for additional funds from the Ministry of Local Government, Community Development and Sports, and assistance from the National Works Agency (NWA).
The Mayor said he was confident that figures in the new budget would be “significantly increased”, and urged residents to pay their taxes and fees, which would enable the Council to provide the necessary services.
Acting Chief Administrative Manager of the Portmore Municipality, Ian Reid noted that strategies would be put in place to ensure that the Council earned some 54 per cent of its parochial revenue, which would come from the collection of property taxes, fees from places of amusement, and motor vehicle, trade, barber and hairdresser licences.
Mr. Reid pointed out that the Council recently advertised for six Municipal Police officers. “We have already identified a vehicle which will be assigned to them. We are in the process of securing radios, batons and uniforms and we have arranged with the Jamaica Constabulary Force to be involved in the training of these officers,” he added.
The Acting Administrative Manager explained that the St. Catherine Parish Council would organise a training session for the municipal and building officers to provide them with information and guidelines on how to carry out enforcement of the building regulations.
“We intend to use our local people to go out there and deliver the notices for property taxes, where those notices cannot be delivered by mail. We intend to work with the Inland Revenue Department and to identify those who have not complied, serve them the necessary notices and orders, and take them to Court,” he said.
Mr. Reid, who was recently appointed by the Council, said the Municipality would be funded from three main sources – the general assistance grant, which is 46 per cent of the budget; the parochial revenue fund and own source general revenue, 54 per cent.

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