Some relief for citizens of Georgetown

Dear Editor,

FINALLY, some relief has been brought to the citizens of Georgetown who have been battered by the Mayor and City Council over the years with their arbitrary, punitive and now proven unlawful imposition of some outrageous new taxes, fees and fines.

The recent judicial decision which now prohibits the city from imposing a fee or charge for the issuance of a certificate enabling the transfer of a property under the Deeds Registry Act is both timely and most welcome. It was also very encouraging to learn that those who paid such fees following July 8th, 2015, are now entitled to refunds.

For far too long the City Council has been allowed to operate as though they are above the law or are indeed the law of the land. They seem to harbour the misguided view that council meetings are comparable to Parliament where they perform a legislative function and can pass laws which are not in sync with the nation’s laws.

For years now when preparing their yearly budgets, rather that trim their expenses to match the revenue to which they are entitled, they instead conjure up all sorts spurious new taxes, fees and fines, which they have been getting away with in large measure because citizens are not inclined to take them to court.

Just look at the container fees; the parking meter system; the maintenance fee to assist with the general, good upkeep of the cemeteries; the weekly fee for collection of garbage from city homeowners; commercial-waste fee to all businesses; the new fees which are affecting salons, barber shops, and other forms of cosmetology, just to name a few.

It should be noted that a lot of these are already built in to the property rates that are being collected, which results in double taxation. And I might add that quite unlawfully they no longer serve property owners with demand notices, yet still they are charging persons interest.

But most alarming, is that many of the services that the Georgetown municipality should be providing for the fees they collect, they don’t. For example, they don’t build or maintain roadways in Georgetown; they hardly have food-hygiene services or meat-processing services being offered at the abattoir; and they have relinquished responsibility for providing day care services in the city. Just look at the sorry state of the cemeteries, they don’t build or maintain bridges; they don’t deal with stray animals on the streets; they are not maintaining parapets or drains; they did not even maintain City Hall, their headquarters. So what do they do with all these fees they collect? They pay all the ‘Fat Cats’ at City Hall hundreds of thousands of dollars each, every month, some even over half a million dollars.

They spent the remaining money lavishly on trips abroad, on fancy vehicles and on dining at posh restaurants, rather than doing the work themselves. It is just preposterous. The citizens should no longer be led by their noses, but seek to verify the legitimacy of fees and charges they are requested to pay and I encourage those who paid the fee for issuance of a certificate enabling the transfer of a property since July 8th, 2015, to go in and claim their refunds

Yours Sincerely,
Debra Gibson

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