City Hall urgently needs other revenue streams – treasurer

first_imgOfficials of the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) were on Monday given the opportunity to share constraints faced in their daily operations, where City Treasurer John Douglas highlighted the financial strain of depending solely on rates and taxes to garner revenue.City Treasurer John DouglasA Trinidad-based delegation along with representatives of the Communities Ministry were involved in talks to develop the operational procedures of the Council. For some time, the Council has been battling with financial burdens.As he emphasised the importance of financial stability, the City Treasurer insisted that the Council is involved in activities which bear no financial benefits to the Council. On the other hand, they are heavily dependent on rates and taxes to subsidise their operational costs. For this, the municipality needs to implement other revenue streams.“We need to be more diverse in our revenue streams. We’re too dependent on rates and tax which has shown over the years that rates and tax cannot carry this organisation for that is required. You look at solid waste. We pick up the waste, it costs us hundreds of millions per year. We don’t get no revenue stream from solid waste,” Douglas said.Other highlighted areas where the Council does not benefit include waterfront activities and increased security presence.“The population in the city is growing. Street vending is growing. Hence, the need for more security…We don’t get no earning from those vehicles traversing the city. You have boats, ships using our waterfront. We don’t generate any revenue from any such activities.”Defined responsibilitiesDouglas also called for defined responsibilities between Central and Local Governments, so as to determine where money should be allocated. Presently, the Council utilises a majority of its earnings to pay staffers and to pay for solid waste collection.“We need clearly defined roles and responsibilities, especially between what’s required of the local organ and the central organ. Both Local Government and Central Government deals with roads. Are we then identifying which ones are to be dealt with by the Central Government and which ones by the Local Government organs?” Douglas questioned.While the M&CC is solely dependent on their rates generation, there have been constant issues with defaulting taxpayers.In May, it was announced that some $8.4 billion, excluding interest rates, was owed by taxpayers within the perimeter of Georgetown and as such, a committee was established to retrieve these monies.Douglas had told media operatives that after a final computation, numbers showed that the $8.4 billion was owed from both residential and commercial taxpayers combined. Some records show that persons had not been paying taxes for as long as 28 years.“One of the approach we have decided to do is to carry out a rate recovery drive. It will be made up of six to seven individuals who would go about to a certain area and we’re looking to start off with Lacytown. We’re trying to target all areas that are closest to Council first and then we would go out,” the City Treasurer stated.It was identified that while that there is a difference in rates for commercial and residential taxpayers, some commercial enterprises have been paying the residential fee, which is significantly lower.last_img

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