Following a campaign by the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) in which the names of delinquent taxpayers were made public, the entity has seen an increase in the number of persons coming forward to clear their debt, which includes 55% of those named.
Acting Town Clerk Sharon Harry-Munroe on Friday told this newspaper that the council last month embarked on a campaign where it published the names of delinquent rate payers in the daily newspapers.
She noted that since the campaign, it has seen persons both named and unnamed visiting the council to settle outstanding balances.
According to Harry-Munroe, they have a special programme in place for persons who are unable to clear their rates in a one-time payment.
“We have a special sub-committee which meets with the persons [to] work out a payment plan for them. We are encouraging persons to come in and discuss with us what their options are,” she said. Harry-Munroe noted that the M&CC will be moving to the courts to seize properties that owe the council rates. She said that while the process is lengthy, it is a move the council will have to take to recover monies owed. She urged all persons listed as delinquent rate payers to visit the treasury department of the M&CC.
The acting Town Clerk also emphasised the need for residents to pay their taxes given the city’s financial burdens. “We have a duty to provide services to the citizens of this city and we try to do so with the money we have. If citizens honour their obligations to council…we may not be in a financial situation and we will be able to provide better service,” she explained. Over a billion dollars in rates is currently owed to the council. The municipality has hosted several amnesty programmes in the past years to recover the debts owed by citizens to cushion their financial crisis.
Many large organisations and businesses are on the list of delinquent tax payers.