Recently-appointed Town Clerk Royston King has set his sights on recovering billions of dollars lost to what is well-known as the ‘cash-strapped’ Mayor and City Council (M&CC) in a political tug-o-war.
King is adamant that the Council will take a proactive approach in conducting building evaluations and recovering fees from businesses that use City spaces without compensating for inconveniencing others. King told Demerara Waves that property valuations have not been done for more than two decades.
He said that the valuation of properties is a matter that has to be brought to the attention of Council at the next Statutory meeting. “We will look at the valuation of properties because that was on the agenda for quite some time, but because we had breaches of the systems nothing has actually happened in that area. We are now moving forward in that regard because we need to have a valuation of all of our properties.”
The Town Clerk said, “It is really important to have these valuations because it is a source of revenue and it also gives citizens a sense of what the value of their property really is.” He said it is both important for the council and property owners. During the entities ‘dark days’ they complained bitterly of being financially stifled by the former administration.
Evaluating properties and charging taxes or making recommendations based on this information was not forthcoming. Where the city would have been developing with new massive commercial structures, no valuation would have been done. The Council saw, for example, huge commercial enterprises paying meager rates and taxes as if it were a small two bedroom structure that would have stood before.
Outside of this, King was adamant that persons and businesses in particular occupying city spaces such as parapets, reserves and thoroughfares would soon have to pay to do so. He said the City is about space, “and people who are occupying space must be willing to make a contribution to help maintain that space and to keep it.” He added that these fees will be specific once agreed upon by the Council.
“Thoroughfares and parapets are collectively owned by the citizens of Georgetown and if one person is going to use it, then they must pay as a way of compensating others for not being able to use it.”
These target persons are vendors, auto dealers and other such persons that use city spaces in particular for commercial purposes. All these matters King said will be addressed by the Council in a matter of weeks.