…says at public consultation
Following Mayor Patricia Chase-Green’s order for Town Clerk Royston King to hold at least one consultation before implementing a monthly $200 garbage collection fee in the capital city, the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) on Thursday hosted its first public consultation on the measure which garnered a mixed response from members of the public.
Participants particularly took umbrage that with the exception of Deputy Mayor Lionel Jaikarran, no other elected Councillor was present at the meeting held at City Hall. In an aim to calm the brief show of tension, M&CC Public Relations Officer Debra Lewis said that Thursday’s exercise was the first of several “conversations” that would be held in the various communities across Georgetown on the implementation of the fee.
Earlier this month, King opted to impose the $200 fee, but the plan was halted after Mayor Chase-Green observed that the full Council was yet to approve the proposal.
On Thursday, King was not present at the first public consultation, but his Deputy, Sharon Harry-Munroe, was there. The Deputy Town Clerk highlighted the shortfalls of the rates and taxes being unchanged since 1994 and further told the gathering that the city having to offset the service “has become burdensome”.
At the meeting, it was observed that outside of Georgetown, some persons were paying as much as $400 for garbage collection services and on that note, some of the few members of the public present contended that the $200 fee was affordable. One such person was pensioner Michael Nelson, of D’Andrade Street, Newtown, saying that he did not mind taking the few dollars out of the $500 increase which was given for his Old Age Pension for 2018.
“I willing to pay the increase to see Georgetown return to what it was – a garden city,” the pensioner stressed.
Desire Younge, of Lamaha Springs, indicated that she was comfortable paying the $200 fee, but Sterling DeLima, of Subryanville, opposed any increase, saying that he expected services for his rates and taxes.
DeLima also contended that he would be affected if he opted to pay and his neighbour did not and pondered what measures the city would utilise to ensure that funds were paid over.
In a lengthy response, Solid Waste Management Director Walter Narine said all payments would be made at City Hall and noted that by-laws were in the pipeline to deal with defaulters who refuse to pay the fee.
“We will not be collecting garbage from people who do not pay their fee,” Narine affirmed.
As the consultation continued, more residents reiterated calls for the fee to be included in their overall rates and taxes and said that there ought to be more consultations with Councillors of the various constituencies.
City Hall’s staff again highlighted that many persons were not forthcoming with their rates and taxes which continued to hamper the organisation from effective operation. (Shemuel Fanfair)