MONTEGO BAY — Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Charles Sinclair has encouraged residents of St. James to pay their property taxes now, in light of a recent survey which showed that there is a low compliance rate in the parish.
Addressing a recent Mayor's forum at the Flanker Primary and Junior High School, Mayor Sinclair said that, "the findings of the recent analysis are unsatisfactory, as many of the complaints that are reported to the St. James Parish Council are from residential areas, particularly those perceived as upscale and are related to services funded from property taxes."
He pointed out that garbage collection and street lighting, services paid for from property taxes, were featured prominently amongst the list of issues mostly reported to the Council on a monthly basis.
"It is unfortunate that the public is not aware of the fact that it is the act of non-compliance on their part that is hindering progress in many areas. For the year 2010, the Department of Local Government, on behalf of the St. James Parish Council, paid approximately $87.4 million and $103 million to the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) and the Jamaica Public Service Company Limited, respectively,” the Mayor noted.
"I believe that if communities are educated on the importance of paying their property taxes and the amount of monies contributed annually to the payment of street lighting and garbage collection services from property taxes, there might be some level of improvement in the compliance rate," he added.
The Mayor said that the Council will have to move stridently to highlight the importance of property tax, so that most areas can become at least 80 to 90 per cent tax compliant.
By Glenis Rose, JIS Reporter