Spanish Town Mayor, Dr. Andrew Wheatley, has called on landowners in St. Catherine to pay their property tax to ensure the adequate delivery of services such as street light and garbage collection.
Speaking at a Land Administration and Management Programme (LAMP) certificate of title handing over ceremony on Tuesday (June 15) at the Point Hill Baptist Church, Dr. Wheatley lamented the parish’s low property tax compliance rate, which he said, currently stands at 42 per cent.
“So, out of every 10 persons, who are supposed to pay property taxes, just approximately four persons (do so). What it is saying is that four persons have to carry the burden for the remaining six.I think that is unfair,” he contended.
Spanish Town Mayor, Dr. Andrew Wheatley (right), presents Point Hill, St. Catherine resident, Miriam Chullan, with her certificate of title during the Land Administration and Management Programme (LAMP) presentation ceremony, at the Point Hill Baptist Church on June 15. Dr. Wheatley was the guest speaker. Ms. Chullan was one of 52 persons who received titles for their properties. Some 100 residents from Point Hill and its environs, who were assisted by LAMP in formalising their land holdings, will receive titles.
Pointing out that the revenue generated is used, primarily, to maintain street lights and for solid waste collection and disposal, Dr. Wheatley said these services are proving a challenge for the Council to execute, as the revenue intake is not sufficient to cover the costs, despite the hike in property tax on April 1.
“So the Council, through deficit financing, at all times, must provide, approximately 75 per cent of the money to subsidise what we get from property tax in order for us to pay for the street lights and. garbage collection. It is very sad,” he bemoaned.
The Mayor urged LAMP beneficiaries of Point Hill and its environs to play their part in assisting the Council to secure 100 per cent compliance among property holders.
“We need to encourage our neighbours. Those of you., who are not paying the property tax, it’s time for (you) to step up to the plate and play (your) part. We cannot demand service without playing our part. I’m sure that if the street light is not working at your gate, you either call the councillor, the Jamaica Public Service (JPS), or the Parish Council to get the light repaired. At times, the persons who make the most noise are the ones not paying their property tax so, I’m encouraging persons to do so,” he implored.
On another matter, Dr. Wheatley urged strict adherence to and compliance with the provisions of the existing building code, and to submit construction plans to the Council for approval.
“We now have a revised building code that will enable us to erect buildings that are sturdier and (able) to withstand the different disasters that might come.
“It is not about just getting the approval.it is about ensuring that the structure that you will erect is safe for you and for other persons that occupy that particular building,” he pointed out.
Dr. Wheatley warned that inspectors would be monitoring developments to ensure adherence.
LAMP, which falls under the purview of the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), was established by the government in 2000 to address the problem of the large number of unregistered lots across Jamaica, by assisting landholders to secure titles.
Some 52 of the 100 residents from Point Hill, Garden Hill, Kitson Town and surrounding areas, who were assisted by LAMP in formalising their property holdings, were presented with certificates of titles during Tuesday’s ceremony.