Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Desmond McKenzie, is urging the island’s mayors and councillors to pay their property tax.
“I have a list of 229 councillors, some of whom have never paid any property tax for more than 20 years, and some of whom also own one or more properties, but have not been paying taxes,” the minister said.
He was addressing the second in a series of regional sensitisation sessions for the island’s councillors and mayors, at the Gold View Hotel in Mandeville, Manchester, yesterday. The session will last for two days.
The minister’s presentation focused on the roles and functions of mayors and councillors.
McKenzie told them that under the law, property taxes formed a key component of what municipalities use to function effectively.
He said they could not be sending out notices to delinquent taxpayers when they themselves are not paying up.
“Everyone in the Ministry of Local Government and its agencies has an obligation. We must pay, so the first set of names that will be published in the media will be those of elected representatives. We won’t have the moral authority to talk about others if we are not paying,” the minister emphasised.
He informed that some $9 billion in property tax is owed to the Government and there will be an ongoing exercise to collect as much of those arrears as possible.
The minister said that Local Government employees and councillors who are delinquent will not be spared in the efforts to collect the arrears.