Large businesses owe the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) over $4B in rates and taxes the town clerk has said.
Speaking at a media briefing on Thursday, Royston King explained that the large businesses are reportedly undervaluing their properties and paying less than they are supposed to in rates and taxes.
“We have an outstanding amount of over $4B owed to this Council by mainly big businesses. Those who neglect to pay their rates and those who are undervaluing their properties so they are paying for example the commercial rates of 250 %; they’re paying the domestic rate of 40 %” King said.
It is the necessary for businesses upon completion of the building phase to approach the Valuation Department for revaluation and further to approach City Hall in order for their expected monthly rates and taxes to be calculated.
It as outlined that when this phase is completed, failure to honour these debts will result in the City Council taking the delinquent businesses to Court.
However the problem that M&CC says it is currently encountering is that the process to recover outstanding sums from defaulters via the Court serves as a disincentive to the Council.
“…it should be a deterrent instead of serving as a disincentive. By the time you go through the process to actually collect the money to actually have a judgment, so many years would have passed and so many things would’ve changed” the Town Clerk lamented.
This he said has resulted in the M&CC being limited in their finances to providing services in addition to restoring the City Hall building.
“So we are in a vicious circle having to supply vital municipal services with very limited money and we go on and on as they year goes by, we have not have valuation in over two decades and as a result of that, we are really strapped for cash and that is why, some of the things you see like the physical condition of the City Hall building. It is because the council doesn’t have the money to prepare, restore and preserve the building” said King. (Kizzy Coleman)