The Mayor and City Council today announced that it will launch “Operation Rates Recovery” on April, 3 2017 with the aim of recovering approximately four billion dollars owed by property owners to the Municipality.
In a statement issued today, the M&CC said the Council needs every cent to provide vital municipal services to local neighbourhoods including: Street lighting; drainage, roads, environmental and public health services, cemeteries, open spaces, parks and gardens and a host of others.
The M&CC explained this operation includes: a help desk at City Hall, telephones calls, visits to businesses and residences by council officers, issuing of special letters, and legal proceedings against those, property-owners, who, notwithstanding the Council’s assistance to them, through amnesty, neglect to pay their property rates.
“Council’s records show that some property-owners have not paid rates as far back as ten years ago. This situation is aggravated by the fact that, there has been no valuation of City properties for about twenty years. Also, that many owners have changed the use of their buildings from residential to commercial but continue to pay residential rates, to the Council”, the M&CC explained.
The statement further pointed out that there are also changes in the demographics, consumption patterns, and waste generated by residents of the city. It added that climate change, global warning and unprecedented environmental events are affecting the economics of the City and influencing expenditure and the way Council organizes its specific and general operations.
“This situation is becoming unsustainable and unless the Council acts now it would be hard-pressed to continue to provide even basic services at current levels”, the statement added.
“The Mayor and City Council is urging all property-owners to settle all outstanding accounts with its Treasurer’s Department to avoid legal and other actions against their properties.
“Those, who are unable to pay their rates can come in and talk with our staff, at the treasury. There are a few reasonable options available including a special payment plan”, the M&CC said.