Thu | Aug 16, 2018

Millions in taxes flowing into municipal coffers

Published:Tuesday | March 20, 2018 | 12:00 AMLeon Jackson/Gleaner Writer

Western Bureau:

The Trelawny Municipal Corporation is in an upbeat mood, as it has collected some $309 million in property taxes for the year 2017-18, which ends on March 31. The amount collected is approximately 96 per cent of the projected target for the period.

According to Chief Executive Officer Andrew Harrison, the revenue collected has actually surpassed the sum initially projected and was subsequently increased.

"The amount already collected represents 96 per cent of the target given to us by the Government. When we started last year, our target was $290m, but our target kept on moving and it finally settled at J$321m," reported Harrison.

In looking back at the success behind the collections so far, Harrison revealed that the corporation benefited greatly from its use of the Property Tax Mobile Unit, which facilitates his team visiting the various rural communities on collection drives.

"That success has encouraged us and this will be part of our operation for the 2018-2019 financial year," he said.

For the financial year 2017-2018, the overall collection of revenue is projected to be approximately $420m. However, Harrison expects the target to be surpassed.

"Our expectations were that motor vehicle taxes would have contributed $91 million. Although the figures are not fully compiled, indications are that the target set will be achieved," said Harrison.

In terms of its spend over the period under review, Harrison said street lighting and garbage collection were the two greatest areas of expenditure.

"Street lighting and garbage collection were the main benefactors of the corporation's spending," he disclosed, albeit not revealing the figures for the two areas.

Falmouth's mayor, Councillor Collen Gager, said that, going forward, the corporation collection is expected to be further enhanced when the new market is opened at the end of April. The market is slated to operate seven days per week.

"The intention is to operate a cashless system," said Gager, noting that shoppers will not have to walk around with cash to do business at the facility. "More shops are going to be built and a major fast-food entity has already applied for space to operate within the complex."