With over $4B in property taxes owed to the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) of Georgetown by mainly big businesses, the municipality’s administration is expected to begin a complete re-evaluation of the value of properties in and around the Capital.
Town Clerk Royston King explained that the project is one of many initiatives being undertaken by the council with support from central government to aid in their financial struggles.
He told media operatives, that the council just wrapped up a meeting with representatives from the Canadian company which is expected to undertake the project within the next few months.
This project was initiated in 2017 by Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan after it was observed that properties in the city had not been evaluated in over 20 years.
King expressed gratitude to the government for the project which he said will assist the broadening of City Council’s revenue base.
Earlier this week, King noted that “big” businesses were finding creative ways to navigate the system, which is creating a nightmare for the City’s administration to rake in the much-needed funds.
“We have an outstanding amount of over $4B owed to this council by mainly big businesses; those that neglect to pay their rates and those who are undervaluing their property. So they’re paying instead of, for example: commercial rates of 250 percent, they are paying domestic rates of 40 percent,” he said.
He added that it is difficult to retrieve these outstanding monies from defaulters due to the sloth of the judicial system.
“It is so cumbersome that is serves as a disincentive to the council to actually collect this money instead, it should be a deterrent…Because by the time you go through the process to actually collect the money and to actually have a judgement, so many years would have passed and so many things would have changed. So we are in a vicious circle,” the official reasoned.
City Hall, for the past couple of years, has been calling on city businesses to ensure that they abide by the stipulated tax payment procedures. The M&CC, has at the same time, been at the receiving end of bashing from citizens of the city to provide improved services.
However, there are some circles that believe the current predicament City Hall is in, is somewhat self-inflicted.
Many have called for an audit to be done at City Hall, to find out the root of the problem as managers of the City have insistently lamented that the treasury is scanty.