By Vanessa Braithwaite
THE Mayor and Town Council of Linden has been granted a $5M increase in subvention from Central Government, and would now be in a better position to finance its programmes.Linden Mayor Carwyn Holland said the subvention, increased from $11M to $16M, will assist the Council to get out of its poor financial state.
The Linden M&TC had lobbied the President to increase the subvention.
“We lobbied further that we need a little bit more help, and I thank God that today our subvention was increased from $11M to $16M; and I think that’s a plus for this new Council,” the Mayor told reporters.
With a debt of $200M, the Linden M&TC is currently in the process of gazetting the Kara Kara toll booth, which will help in paying off its debt and meeting other expenses; and in seeking to secure an increase in shares of the Mackenzie/Wismar Bridge.
The policy that mandates $10.00 per square foot for market stall rental is also under review by the Markets Committee with the intention of increasing the sum.
The Council is, moreover, soliciting Central Government intervention to relieve it of its $70M debt owed to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS).
Currently, none of the council’s 124 employees is in receipt of social security benefits from the National Insurance Scheme, and none will receive NIS pension after retiring.
The Council has made a legal agreement with NIS to address its liability by means of paying $200,000 per month; but as this is paid, the debt will continue to grow, as the Council cannot afford to pay the current NIS requirement of $800,000 per month for its workers.
Giving a mathematical analysis of the situation, Councillor Devin Sears said it would take the Council 29 years to pay off the debt to NIS at the rate of $200,000 per month, and that does not address paying the current NIS rate.
“Mr. Mayor, at this time, we need intervention; we need to start looking at direct solutions where we can generate and garner enough money to pay our debts to ensure our employees benefit from the little we have to offer at this Council,” he explained.
Mayor Holland had said he had made representation to Central Government on behalf of the Council, and had been given a positive response.