- Property tax collection in the Corporate Area has risen by 169 per cent since April 1 this year
- Property taxes are mainly used for the maintenance of community amenities
- 89 per cent increase increased for trade licenses
Property tax collection in the Corporate Area has risen by 169 per cent since April 1 this year, when compared to the figure for the corresponding period last year.
This was disclosed by Mayor of Kingston, Senator Councillor Angela Brown Burke, during the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC) Council meeting, held at its Church Street offices in downtown Kingston, on August 13.
“Yes, we know that the rates were increased, yes we know that there are some individuals who have been finding it difficult (to pay), but we have been operating a (Parish) Discretionary Relief Committee, where individuals can apply (for relief), and we have been granting those waivers,” the Mayor said.
She noted that property taxes are mainly used for the maintenance of community amenities, adding that “persons who are paying their taxes, need to see their tax dollars in action.”
Senator Brown Burke also informed that for barbers and hairdressers, collection increased by 18 per cent when compared to last year’s figure.
With regard to trade licences, the Mayor said that the figure, when compared to last year, represents an 89 per cent increase, and for signs and billboards, there has been a 41 per cent reduction in the figure, when compared to the corresponding period last year.
The Mayor pointed out that targets have been set for the 2013/14 fiscal year, and a compliance team has once again been deployed to focus on issues of enforcement and revenue generation.
“We intend to target those areas where improvement can still be made, for example, signs and billboards. We are aware of the impact of the collection of outstanding arrears last year, as a result of the focus of the revenue officer, with specific responsibility for billboards. We also note that there are still areas where signs are erected without any reference to an application to the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation,” she said, and encouraged citizens to become complaint with the rules and regulations of the KSAC.
Mrs. Brown Burke said the Corporation will continue its on-going public education campaign, as part of efforts to increase its compliance rate for trade licences and property tax.
The methods used to encourage people to pay their property tax and trade licences include: notices; the use of a town crier in targeted areas; distribution of fliers and reminders; and advertisements of delinquent properties and owners in the media.
At the meeting, Councillor Beverly Prince was officially sworn in after winning the recent by-election in the Cassia Park Division of the KSAC.