Poor turnout by businesses at third city consultation on garbage fees

The Mayor and City Council held its third consultation with business owners yesterday on the management of the city’s waste and Deputy Mayor Lionel Jaikarran said he was disappointed at the poor attendance.

Speaking at the meeting yesterday, Mayor Patricia Chase-Green said the council is having difficulties maintaining its waste management with its current revenue base, since the same rates citizens have been paying since 1994 are still being paid in 2017.

“Our cost for collection of garbage in some areas is $1.8 million per week and more in others,” Chase-Green said, while stating that the third consultation meeting was convened so that the council and business owners can have a discussion since they are planning to introduce a commercial rate for garbage collection.

“We are looking for suggestions from you. Under the law, we are required to look our revenue base and we are doing that,” the Mayor said.

Mayor Patricia Chase-Green (sixth, left) and Deputy Mayor Lionel Jaikarran (fourth, right) engaging some business owners yesterday.

The meeting yesterday was for businesses owners from the Werk-en-Rust, Charlestown, Stabroek and Middle Road areas and while the Mayor explained that those areas collectively have more than 100 businesses, she was disappointed that only about ten persons showed up for the meeting.

“…This is the response we are having and when you do introduce the fees you are going to hear that people weren’t consulted,” Chase-Green added.

Jaikarran also shared similar sentiments. “I must say the turnout has been very poor and I am disappointed because we are facing a garbage crisis in Georgetown, we cannot run from that,” he said.

“In my opinion it is not fair for the business people to pay the same amount of garbage collection fees that the residents pay. Something is inherently wrong with that,” Jaikarran stressed.

Director of Solid Waste Management for the City Council Walter Narine also stressed the importance of garbage collection and also explained that the private collectors would charge more than the council would.

He explained that while the council has not set a figure as yet, the fees would be categorized as per small, medium and large and businesses will have to pay depending on what category they fall in. “We don’t want to have small businesses owners paying rates as large as the Giftland Mall would have to pay. This is a friendly conversation that we must have.

We want to know what it is that you want from us and what you are willing to pay,” Narine said.

When it came to inputs from the business owners, most of them were hesitant to engage in the discussion. However, one of them suggested a fee of $500 per barrel while another suggested a fee of $5,000 per month.

At the end of the discussion, Chase-Green indicated that the Council would continue the consultations, compile responses and implement the fees from May 1st.

Additionally, she related, council will be more stringent with the application of by-laws as these relate to the cleaning of drains and parapets.

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