THE Linden Mayor and Town Council (LMTC) is presently in the process of regularising housing schemes in Linden, in an effort to garner rates and taxes, since these will now be deemed part of the municipality.
While it was determined that 60 per cent of Linden’s residential areas were not paying rates and taxes, the communities that will be regularised soon include the new schemes of Amelia’s Ward Phase 1-3 and Wisroc.
LMTC is working in collaboration with the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CHPA) to expedite this process, so that the Council can benefit from revenue collection, as early as possible. “We are working along right now with the Central Housing and Planning Authority and they are going to hand over to us those schemes that we do not yet have under us, it is about 60 per cent of Linden that is not under the Council. Those should be handed over in the new year, to allow us to be able to increase our revenue base,” Arrindell said.
The newly re-elected mayor said that Council is identifying every means of increasing its revenue collection to deal with its financial crises. Presently, the Council is indebted to several agencies to the tune of over $200M and is unable to pay workers the minimum wage, outstanding retroactive payments and current NIS contributions amongst other things.
Chairman of the Economic Development Committee, Lawrence Simon, endorsed the move as a positive one to rake in more funds, something that the Council needs to develop the municipality and to build in-house capacity and better serve its administrative arm. “With this initiative, I think it is a boost for the Council in getting the needed revenue at this time,” Simon said.
Simon said that these communities were already benefiting from municipality services, such as garbage collection, and once they are regularised, these services will be more efficient. He also related that the Council is in the process of implementing the building by-laws and when passed, will also rake in more revenue.
Up for consideration as well is the raising of the rates and taxes, as the present scale has not been upgraded since the 1970’s. Lindeners pay as low as $1,000 to $1,200 per year. Despite this low rate, about 60% of Lindeners, under both residential and commercial classes, have rates and taxes owed to the Council. Arrindell said that the Council will also enact its rate recovery drive to ensure those funds are paid.
Meanwhile, the LTMC workers who were on strike from the Environmental, Solid Waste and Constabulary Departments, have called off the strike and are back to work, despite not being given a definitive answer from the Council on their 2019 retroactive payment, increase in wages as well as monthly payments on their NIS contributions.
Arrindell said that the Council is looking at all avenues to ensure the workers are being paid something substantial before the end of the year and is hoping to get a positive feedback from the government on its petition for a bailout. The matter was expected to be raised at cabinet on Tuesday.