Govt admits ‘property evaluation’ exercise for local organs failed

first_imgOver the past few years, the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) has cited the low rates and taxes payment as the major reason for its lack of funding for major and necessary works throughout Georgetown, thus, the relevant authorities embarking in a ‘property evaluation’ initiative but this has not proved to be successful.Caretaker Communities Minister Ronald BulkanThis was according to caretaker Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan, who recently admitted to the media that the initiative, which his Government and the M&CC believed would have alleviated the financial burdens of City Hall, has not been able to do so.“Work has started in direction. Unfortunately, it has not reached the stage that we hoped to. Of course, the interim status of the Administration has not really helped us in this regard.”He stated that after the upcoming General and Regional elections on March 2, 2020, it is expected that the Government of the day “picks up the pieces” in this regard and continue along the path that was already paved in the property evaluation drive.“…and to allow that initiative to go forward which in large measure will help to ensure that the fiscal independence of Councils is guaranteed. And that they are not overly reliant on the central government. (This) can pose the hazard of possibly compromising their independence and authority,” the Minister added.According to Bulkan, the issue of revenue base of all Councils in the capital town is the “single most important” issue which affects and ultimately constrains the ability of local democratic organs to discharge their manifold responsibilities.City Hall, Georgetown, Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica)“It is an issue that the central government has been working with our Councils. It is one that we intend to see to its finality to enable the autonomy that local organs enjoy ensures that the central government is not the funder or the principal funder of local organs. But rather than their own revenue base to strengthen to a point, that will allow them to have the required level of finances to effectively discharge those responsibilities and to result in conditions you would have referred to.”It was expected that the valuation exercise requires at least 12 to 18 months and the Government, in this regard, had engaged with a Canadian institution, the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC), which does property evaluations for the state of Ontario and other jurisdictions in Canada and internationally.However, almost two years later, the initiative has not reaped the successes it was touted to have achieved.The M&CC had often said that the re-evaluation of properties in Georgetown would significantly aid the cash-strapped municipality in providing key services to the city.Earlier in 2018, Minister Bulkan had told reporters that the valuation system countrywide needed to be reformed and that the new, updated system would “re-value properties to be able to provide realistic values which have not been done for over two decades; which will ‘wean’ them off of central Government’s subventions and allow them to exercise greater autonomy”.last_img

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