City Council’s financial struggles continue
…even as amnesty deadline reaches again
Although it is set to come to an end today, the recent amnesty offered by the Mayor and City Council of Georgetown has not yielded the desired results.
At least this is according to City Mayor, Hamilton Green, who revealed that based on the reports reaching his office, the response from large scale businesses has not been favourable.
Even Government entities have not fully honoured their rates and taxes obligation to the municipality, Green revealed.
“Up to my last report we have not had, in spite of us offering them the opportunity… the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Ltd (NICIL) people. To the best of my knowledge they have not taken advantage of this opportunity and they are the people that owe us a lot of money.”
And no little effort has been made to raise this matter with the Head of NICIL, Mr Winston Brassington, said Mayor Green.
“We spoke with Mr Brassington and unless there has been a change over the past few days I don’t think that they have so far taken advantage of the opportunity we have offered. We had hoped that the big stakeholders who have been disposing properties, like NICIL, would have used this opportunity as a mark of goodwill but this has not happened.”
However a number of individuals and owners of small scale businesses have taken advantage of the offer, he revealed, adding that “we are glad about that and so our staff has been mobilised to act with some swiftness.”
It was at the end of last month that a decision was taken to extend the amnesty offer to December 15. It was initially kicked into motion on October 15 with an intended culmination date of November 30. The amnesty was so designed that defaulting tax payers could have honoured their obligation without having to pay accumulated interest.
According to Public Relations Officer, Royston King, while the amnesty offer had seen the response of a number of home owners, many substantial business entities have not come forward. As such, the anticipated collection of some $200M up to the commencement of this month had not been realized, King lamented.
Moreover, this would affect the ability of the municipality to provide critical services and facilities to the citizens of Georgetown.
Government and several reputable businesses have been listed among the defaulters that are yet to fully honour their civic obligation with the municipality. And according to information emanating from the municipality, Central Government owes in excess of $30M, representing the payment of rates and taxes for the last quarter of this year, which was due and payable on October 30 last.
It was since the commencement of last month that it was recognised that the municipality was facing a near $400M shortfall, which prompted the entity to offer the amnesty programme. King revealed that it was expected that the amnesty programme would have seen the municipality recovering at least 50 percent of the shortfall.