#Jamaica, August 28, 2017 – Mandeville – Some $93 million has been earmarked for retrofitting and putting up street signs across the island as well as renovating and repairing fire stations. The amount to be spent on street signs is $35 million and the allocation for fire stations is $58 million.
This was announced by Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, at a town hall meeting on property tax held at Holmwood Technical High School in Christiana, Manchester, on August 23. The Minister said he is not pleased with the payment of property taxes in Manchester, as the parish was ranked amongst the lowest in compliance across the country over the last three financial years.
Mr. McKenzie also noted that Christiana, one of the most important communities in the parish, has also done poorly in property tax collection. The Minister noted that in 2016/17, only $483 million was collected in property taxes for Manchester, and that of the $1-billion target set for this year, to date there has been a collection of $42 million.
Mr. McKenzie explained that Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) has worked out a payment plan to make it easier for people to pay their taxes, including a more comfortable office space that is up and running in Mandeville. He also noted that the two tax mobiles that have been going around the island to make collections more convenient were in Manchester since August 22.
“We are now at the stage where persons who want to make cash payments will be able to do so at the tax mobiles,” Mr. McKenzie said.
He reminded the gathering that their taxes cover the provision of street lights and garbage collection, and, come September, Manchester will receive one of the additional garbage trucks that are due to arrive in Jamaica.
“By the end of next year, we intend to improve garbage collection by introducing 100 new garbage trucks into the system across the country,” the Minister said.
He pointed out that in the last 12 months, the Government spent $500 million from property tax to provide new garbage trucks. The Minister said that street lights had also been put up in the town of Christiana along the new bypass, and that a programme to install directional signs in communities across Jamaica would begin in the coming months.
He noted that some 2,500 young people are currently collecting data in a street light audit, and that information will be used to ensure all communities have street lights, adding that Manchester will get 400 more lights.