Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Noel Arscott, has announced plans to undertake a property revaluation exercise during the 2012/13 fiscal year.
Making his presentation in the 2012/13 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, on June 26, Mr. Arscott said the Ministry will partner with the National Land Agency (NLA) to implement the “long overdue” project during the period.
The undertaking is expected to be pivotal in realising some $2.7 billion in revenue, which the Minister advised has been targeted for collection from property taxes during the current fiscal year. This intake, he further informed, is being earmarked to carry out “property related expenses,” with special emphasis on solid waste management and street lighting.
Meanwhile, Mr. Arscott pointed out that the Ministry will be working “collaboratively” to improve the compliance rate for property tax payments, from the current 51 per cent, to a more “acceptable” level of 65 per cent, in the first instance.
He noted that strategies which will be employed towards achieving this goal, include: a “strong” public relations programme; interfacing with community residents, through citizen association meetings and seminars; strengthening of the legislative framework; court action; and house to house calls/visits by local authorities.
“It cannot be disputed that property taxes are the largest source of revenue for local authorities, and the main areas on which this revenue is utilised are core functions of the local authorities. Therefore, we ask that you covenant with us and pay your property taxes, as the amount collected will affect the local authorities’ ability to manage solid waste, at an acceptable standard, and place street lights in areas where citizens are at risk,” Mr. Arscott said.
By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter