City Hall to get advance payment of taxes from govt

The President on behalf of the government has committed to making an advance payment of rates and taxes for government properties to the Georgetown Mayor and City Council. This is according to the Office of the President. President Irfaan Ali along with Dr Ashni Singh, Senior Minister with responsibility for finance, Minister of Local Government Nigel Dharamlall, Minister within the Local Government Ministry Anand Persaud met with Mayor Ubraj Narine and Deputy Mayor Alfred Mentore on Monday.

In his meeting the President in pointing out the need to maintain City Hall’s infrastructure committed to an advance payment of taxes to City Hall to the tune of $100M the Office of the President said.

“These things will cost a fortune to rehabilitate. But we have to start. We will pay a sum of the Government taxes in advance towards these projects. So we can have approval on that, so you can move that forward,” he told the Mayor.

Mayor Narine pledged to work with the government to address the issues affecting the council as well as developing the city.

“I know you have spoken many times about procrastination, at the level of many agencies within the M&CC. We want to discuss how we can be able to implement some of your strategies, some of your vision so that we can be able to work with the investor and the business community at large, so that we can be able to deliver in a more timely manner.”

The government along with Mayor and team also discussed the the implementation of a ‘Single Window Permitting System,’ the statement said.

“We all know whether it’s the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA), whether it’s the NDCs, or the City Council, our greatest criticism is slothfulness in which things take time to get done in terms of approvals and so on.  And at the end of the day, it is the elected officials who get the blame. So the first thing I think we have to do is look at a modern permitting system that integrates all agencies via health, the city, CH&PA etc., into one single window. So when an application comes, it goes to everybody simultaneously.”

And congestion in the city and lack of parking were among the other issues touched on as President Ali is quoted as proposing that City Hall work the Private Sector to “achieve infrastructural projects such as the enhancement and maintenance of parapets and drains in key parts of Georgetown,”  and the construction of modern parking facilities.