Wed | Apr 8, 2020

Little London councillor wants equity in parochial fund distribution

Published:Tuesday | January 14, 2020 | 12:19 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

The Westmoreland Municipal Corporation (WMC) says it is being starved of funding from the Ministry of Local Government and is calling for equity in the distribution of monies generated into the Parochial Revenue Fund (PRF) through the collection of property tax.

The PRF is a major source of transferring funds into the local government coffers. Its distribution is based on funds from property tax and two thirds of the receipts from tax on motor vehicles. Ten per cent of the receipts are used as an equalisation fund.

According to Ian Myles, the councillor for the Little London division in the WMC, the councillors in the western parish have had to be waiting too long for funding to provide much-needed services to those they serve, which he believes is not the case in other parishes.

“Here at the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation, we are suffering as councillors. Three months will pass without us receiving any PRF,” Myles told last week’s regular monthly meeting of the WMC.

Myles argued that, though the citizens of his parish pay their property taxes, the corporation is not receiving an adequate and timely allocation from the PRF.

“I am calling on the ministry to ensure consistency in the deployment of the PRF, which is taken from the property tax in 2020,” he said.

LACK OF EQUITY

“I am not going to say sabotage today, but something is amiss when it comes to the governance structure of this country, [and] there is an absence of equity and a direct intention to have Westmoreland being pushed on the back burner. I don’t know what it is yet, but we will find out soon,” said Myles, who is part of the People’s National Party majority in the municipal body.

Myles said the lack of equity in the PRF distributed to the WMC is robbing the people of Westmoreland from the type of representation they deserve, just as is received by residents in other parts of the island.

“It doesn’t matter where you live. You are a citizen of this country and you pay your taxes and must be treated equitably,” stated Myles. “The minister [Desmond McKenzie] through his Ministry of Local Government, needs to furnish the municipal corporation with the funding which is necessary to ensure that the services are provided for these residents.”

editorial@gleanerjm.com