Linden businesses will be asked to pay fees for use of the Kara Kara Bridge twice yearly following a decision taken by the Linden Town Council at an extraordinary meeting on Monday.
The decision was made following a poorly-attended public consultation on the buildings and toll booth by-laws, which was held at the Egbert Benjamin Exhibition and Conference Centre in Linden.
According to Mayor Carwyn Holland, Linden-registered businesses would only be charged a small fee twice yearly for the use of the bridge.
“All documentation to that toll booth was already established years ago, it’s not a new thing,” Holland told the gathering, while adding that the only changes are rates in five categories.
Last month, Holland had announced that the toll booth was set to be re-opened on August 1.
However, former town councillor Winston Smith did not find what the mayor was saying to be favourable, since, according to him, from the time he was on the council to the time he left Linden businesses never paid at the toll point.
“In my recollection, no car ever paid $2,000 to bring goods into this community to sell. If you can provide a receipt showing that a car paid to bring goods into this community, I will humbly apologise to this council,” Smith said.
The council subsequently held the extraordinary meeting and voted for all registered Linden businesses to pay tolls bi-annually.
An amount will be agreed upon after they have consulted with the Linden Chambers of Commerce.
During the consultation, it was stated that revenue from the toll booth will greatly aid in the development of the town since all of the town council staff are underpaid, and the council was given a mandate until September to find a way of raising the salary scale for those workers.
“At this time, we are actually behind time with the handing in of the by-laws and the recommendation from Linden,” Holland said.
It is expected soon that Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan would approve the by-laws, which they would be published in the Official Gazette to be brought into legal force.
The purpose of the Kara Kara Bridge’s toll booth was to collect revenue from vehicles transporting lumber and other resources through Linden.
The town’s application of the toll was stopped by the former PPP/C government in 2013, much to the chagrin of the then cash-strapped Interim Manage-ment Committee (IMC) of the Linden Town Council, which depended on the funds. The then Local Government Minister Norman Whittaker had sent a letter to the Council, in which he warned that any council employee who manned the booth would be dismissed immediately and anybody employed to work there would be charged with extortion.