We've paid our taxes, now, give us more resources - Portmore
Acting Mayor for the Portmore municipality, Leon Thomas, believes the Sunshine City should be rewarded for its compliance with the Government's tax-collection regime.
He wants Local Government Minister Noel Arscott to make additional resources available to Portmore to carry out more improvements there. This, because they have fulfilled their tax-collection obligations. It is the only council in the island to realise a 98 per cent collection rate for the 2014-15 financial year.
"Even though we were awarded $5 million for our efforts last year, some of this money is currently being used to carry out road repairs, and general beautification projects. We think that much more can be done for the people of Portmore," Thomas stated.
He said there have been remarkable improvements in garbage collection, road repairs, drain cleaning and beautification along the main thoroughfare, but a lot more could be done to encourage the continued compliance in the property tax collection.
"We were set a target of just over $335.5 million, and the residents of Portmore have responded, paying just over $272.5 million so far in property tax," the acting mayor disclosed.
According to him, the success was due largely to the strategies he employed. He cited making personal telephone calls to overseas residents who own properties in Portmore to encourage them to pay taxes; visits by councillors to citizens' association meetings to discuss the issue; threats of court action and court action, in some cases, to ensure compliance.
"These methods are working because the results are there for everyone to see," Thomas argued.
On the issue of crime, he acknowledged that serious offences have declined significantly, pointing out that the unlawful acts there are mainly domestic in nature.
Thomas said he has scheduled a meeting with the police leadership to devise ways to deal with the problem.