Wed | Dec 13, 2017

Local govt minister urges corporations to collect fees

Published:Tuesday | October 17, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Local Government and Community Development Minister Desmond McKenzie (right) consults with Port Maria mayor, Councillor Richard Creary during the St Mary Municipal Corporation’s monthly meeting last week. The meeting was held at the council’s municipal building in Port Maria.

Local Government and Community Development Minister Desmond McKenzie is urging Municipal Corporations to maximise the revenue-generating potential from the requisite payment of fees by businesses and residents for services the councils administer, in keeping with the beneficiaries' statutory obligations.

Among the categories of revenues, which he said are at the corporations' disposal, are property taxes, trade licences, and building permit fees.

McKenzie said that maximising the outturns of these was imperative in order to supplement the Government's budgetary provisions allocated to each corporation through the ministry.

"I know that councillors continue [to] lament the fact that they are not getting as much as they want. But you have to help yourselves, in this regard (as) the ministry will not always be able to provide you with all of the resources that you need," he said.

The minister was addressing the St Mary Municipal Corporation's monthly meeting in Port Maria last Thursday.

While noting that Municipal Corporations are not faring badly in revenue inflows, McKenzie said that they are "not doing as well as they ought", based on the level of arrears for statutory obligations.

He argued that if councils could collect as much as 40 per cent of outstanding sums, "then the ministry wouldn't have to be struggling to find money to support the work of the local authorities."

"These are revenues that the councils need to step up their approach on collecting, and I am urging councillors to go on an extensive drive to collect those outstanding revenues," McKenzie emphasised.