HMC to intensify revenue collection next year
For the first quarter of 2022, the Hanover Municipal Corporation (HMC) will be ramping up efforts to counteract a decline in revenue since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The announcement comes on the heels of a recent revelation by Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie that the island’s municipalities have collectively seen an estimated $2-billion fall-off in revenue collection since March 2020.
According to the minister, the situation has resulted in inadequate funding to carry out some of the functions of the municipal corporations.
Although not divulging the extent of the hit the pandemic has had on the HMC, Lucea Mayor Sheridan Samuels, who chairs the municipality, acknowledged that the revenue collected was significantly less than what would have been collected under normal circumstances.
He said that the HMC will be pulling out all the stops to recoup as much as possible between January and March, when the current financial year ends. Special emphasis will be placed on trade licences, property taxes, and advertising revenue from billboards and other sources.
“We (the country) are getting back to normal and we need to have some funds coming in, and you all know that by law, everyone needs to pay their taxes because the property taxes that we collect are what is used to take care of our road network, garbage collection, street lights, and other things,” said Samuels.
He is pleading with stakeholders across the parish to be more understanding, noting that several concessions were made to them to facilitate the downturn in the economy brought on by the pandemic.
According to Samuels, with the economy steadily showing signs of recovery, stakeholders will now need to start shouldering their responsibilities once again.