…more attention to be paid to sources of revenue- MCC
The Mayor and City Council (MCC) is now faced with additional problems this time stemming from issues concerning the Le Repentir Cemetery since it is now evident that the space for burial in this plot is almost exhausted.
At a press conference on Thursday, the Town Clerk, Yonette Pluck, addressed the Council’s financial position with budget proposals sent to the Council for deliberation and decisions which covered a number of areas including the state of the Le Repentir Cemetery.
According to Pluck, the cemetery which has been facilitating a large number of citizens whose family members were laid to rest there will be “out of space” by September 2011, though the proposal of extensions of the cemetery will accommodate burials for another 10 years or so.
The Committee for Restoration, which is responsible for this area, was formed with officials from the relevant Ministries, National Trust, Municipality and other stake holders and will be accountable for the cleaning of vegetations, cleaning of drains, repairs to roadways and culverts, and the repairs of tombs.
The Ministry of Public Works, on Thursday, proposed to have inspections facilitated at the cemetery and were scheduled to have some drainage works commenced.
Mayor Hamilton Green added that the community can assist with conditions at the cemetery since families would be welcomed to come out in numbers with tools to help clear the area close to where their loved ones lay and help keep the place neat and tidy.
Kaieteur News also understands that with the third quarter of the year fast approaching, the MCC is currently preparing estimates concerning the drainage situation and their main focus in maintaining sluices, kokers while addressing major canals such as those in Cane View and Avenue of the Republic.
Central Government recently awarded contracts for major road works to be conducted, almost all of which were in collaboration between Government and the Municipality, with breaches to building by laws being another focus by the MCC for the remainder of the year whereby it will have its building inspectorate functioning to the best of his abilities and encumbrances will be noted and dealt with accordingly.
On the issue of Public Health, Pluck explained that this is one of the major responsibilities of the Welfare Section, at the MCC, and the Council is currently seeking to obtain additional nurses although there is one prevalent issue arising with one of its health centres.
And as it related to the collection of taxes, this newspaper was told that a number of matters have been placed before the court and the Public Relations Officer was tasked with the responsibility of placing in the newspapers the name of property owners who cannot be located.
Currently there are 25 matters to date that have been filed in court against delinquent tax-payers.
Persons can visit the municipality where they will be allowed to work out a plan to pay their taxes on a monthly basis.
Pluck told Kaieteur News that from the beginning of this year, the Council has recorded in excess of $6M, stating that the main source of revenue is by collection of rates and taxes, the fees for market space rental, services performed by personnel of the health and engineer departments which also include inspection and registration, and some fees from its day care centres, though these fees are heavily subsidized.
The markets which serve as a means of economic wellbeing, is also another important area for the Council because it is necessary to keep it in a certain standard, while the Council will focus on the rehabilitation of its markets, taking into consideration that some markets such as those at Albouystown, Bourda and Kitty require larger sums.
Mayor Green added, “This is a crisis which was recognized since 1993-1994. What we see here is an accumulation,” after explaining the fact that the MCC is low on revenue to execute its works expeditiously and to pay its staff on time.
Kaieteur News was further told that 40 per cent of the MCC staff has already been paid their salaries for May, while some of those who get paid through the commercial banks, specifically Republic Bank, have yet to receive their salaries.
It was further explained that though payments are not processed by departments at the Council, and many employees are paid through smaller banks, some have received their salaries over the counters.
Most have already received their cheques and the Council is working to ensure that the others receive their payment.
On Thursday, after most of the MCC workers were not paid their salaries for May, workers from several of the city departments began a “go slow” with their Union citing that industrial action would continue until the staff could acquire their salaries.
President of the Guyana Local Government Officers Union, Dale Beresford, told the media that the Council had been given up to the start of this week to make the necessary payments. When that ultimatum failed, the Union indicated on Tuesday that it would be pursuing “industrial action.”
“The daycare, the maternal and child clinic, the entire public health will be on a go slow and then followed by the markets and the other clerical services.
“The building inspectorate is on go slow now and they will also be intensifying.
“Some of them will be off the job and some of them will just not be working. It will not be a go slow, it will be a total shutdown,” Beresford stated.
Kaieteur News further understands that the municipality will need to locate almost $100M within the next eight days to pay the salaries for May and June, as well as outstanding allowances.
The Union has already indicated its willingness to assist the Council in identifying the necessary strategies to enhance revenues.
Yesterday, Mayor Green explained that the Municipality was unable to meet with the Guyana Local Government Officers’ Union and the Guyana Labour Union as scheduled, due to some “communication difficulties.
He did assure that the Council is willing to meet with the relevant bodies at any given time to discuss the matters at hand.
“I understand the workers’ plight and understand their situations. But we cannot pay with what we don’t have as yet”, Green added.
He expressed the hope that the workers will understand as well that the MCC is willing to pay their salaries but it will need some time to acquire the revenue and hopefully the “go slow” actions would be discontinued shortly.
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