|Related Links:||Articles on Georgetown|
|Letters Menu||Archival Menu|
Relationship with the government
Williams said that while there had been a public declaration of co-operation by the government, this had not been demonstrated at the level expected.
According to the deputy mayor, the many issues crucial to the management of the city which required co-operation from the government had been unnecessarily delayed by operatives in the system.
And some examples of these delays were; the Inter-Development American Bank (IDB) funded programme on a temporary land-fill site; settlement of all outstanding taxes; the housing of workers of the municipality and squatters in general; the functioning of the rating appeal panel; and discussions on new revenue sources.
However, the government has been helpful in other areas including the management of solid waste.
According to Williams in this regard the government had committed itself to assisting the Georgetown municipality in accessing funds for an incinerator to manage pathological and other medical and mixed waste.
Also last year the council received $10M from the government for a mini clean-up project. "This yielded good results and many citizens expressed satisfaction about the works in their communities."
Further, Williams said that the council received $250M as a direct transfer from government and this was separate and apart from payments made by other government ministries for rates and taxes.
Property tax reform
Under this programme, which Williams said was started last year, the council catered for providing the municipality with accurate, up-to-date property tax rolls, providing a system of valuation, which was far more accurate, reliable and easily understood by citizens; providing the municipality with technology and training to fully computerize the administration of property tax; having each property and its description on record in the computer system; and making tax bills computer generated. It also recommended more effective methods of redress against defaulters.
According to Williams this would be done by the use of a sophisticated computer software package to enable Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal (CAMA) to be done.
He said that the CAMA package would allow for an aerial photograph to be taken of every property within the boundaries of the municipality and each property would be individually measured and photographed by teams on the ground.
He said that this was in progress in different sections of the city and he urged property-owners to co-operate.
Public Health Department
Last year collection in the department had been reasonable, said Williams, but noted there was much more work to be done in this area to collect outstanding sums from those operations concerned with, or providing certain health services in the city.
For a second year Williams expressed his concern about the state of the abattoir and the problem with the commencement of its rehabilitation.
He recalled that US$75,000 was budgeted under the Urban Development Programme to be used in 2001 but it was shifted to 2002 and yet in the year 2003 the council had not had movement in this area of work.
"The abattoir is a very crucial aspect of our public health responsibility. It is concerned with food hygiene and the careful inspection and slaughtering of animals for human consumption."
In terms of fines for offences committed by citizens, Williams said that the council intensified its policing operations in different sections and fines of $3.2M were collected, which was the same amount budgeted for last year.
Williams noted that there were about one hundred and fifty cases pending in court. He said that the Public Health's Anti-Litter Unit made out over twenty such cases a month, however, the amounts were paid into the consolidated fund of the national treasury.
Williams said they were still trying their utmost to have the sums transferred to the municipality.
In terms of expenditure for last year, Williams said that last year's budgeted amount was $1,652,715,719 but this was later revised to $1,638,510,736.