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JIS News

Secretary Manager of the St. Catherine Parish Council, Christopher Powell, has urged residents to pay up their property taxes, to ensure delivery of services provided by the Council.
Mr. Powell said that non-payment of these taxes has a restrictive effect on the Council, as the money is needed to pay for services, such as street lighting and solid waste collection in the parish.
He stated that, currently, the compliance rate for the parish is quite low and that the Council faces an uphill task in balancing its budget, while providing the services.
“The compliance rate ( in St. Catherine) is between 38 percent and 40 percent. The national average is about 44 percent. The challenge we face here, is to try to collect enough property tax so that we can try to deliver these services,” he said.
He added that the Council was trying to educate the residents about paying their property taxes. The aim is to get up to a 60 percent compliance rate, he said.
Various reasons have been advanced why persons have not been complying, and the Council, in collaboration with the tax collectorate, has embarked on a special drive to educate the citizenry and collect taxes, since last week.
“Persons have complained that, because some of the rates are only a $1,000, where they are located, if they are to take a taxi to the collectorate(to pay), it would cost more to go to the collectorate. So, they end up not paying,” he explained.
“We have been going out to strategic areas, since last week, with the collectorate to collect the taxes. We need it, because we have to deliver the services the people complain about,” he argued.
He also told JIS News that the Council is looking at redistributing some of the revenues to the communities within the parish, as a development grant, which would assist the residents in investing in micro-economic projects in their areas.
Mr. Powell stressed that paying property taxes was a legal requirement and that facilities were already in place for it to be paid on a quarterly, or half-yearly basis.
“We just want people to comply,” he commented.

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