Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, says there will be a strong focus on community, as the Ministry celebrates Local Government and Community Month in November.
“We have stressed the importance of community development because it is important that people understand that the Ministry is not just about cleaning drains. It is not just about providing allocation for councillors… but we do have community development as an integral part of the Ministry’s portfolio agenda,” Mr. McKenzie said.
The Minister was speaking at the official launch of Local Government and Community Month at Water Square in Falmouth on November 1.
This year, the month is being celebrated under the theme ‘Local Governance: The Pathway to Securing Better Communities’.
“The people in tourism here in Falmouth would be pleased to hear that the Ministry will be having a stakeholders meeting, bringing to the table the tourism sector, so that we can understand what are the needs…and the tourism sector will understand what are the needs of Local Government,” Mr. McKenzie said.
Meanwhile, the Local Government Minister is encouraging property owners to pay their property taxes, as this enables the Agencies of the Ministry to provide basic community services, including, garbage collection and the provision of streetlights.
“It is your property taxes that is used to pay for streetlights and for public cleansing. It is your property taxes that is required in order to provide community services. So when residents complain that we live in a community and there is no street sign; there are no stop signs, it is your property tax dollar that provide those services,” he emphasized.
He also reminded Jamaicans that they can pay their property taxes in instalments. Payments can be made quarterly, half yearly or in full.
“Property tax now is no longer one big down payment. You can pay property taxes the same way you put credit on your phone. So you pay what you can afford. Because I don’t know of any government that turns away revenue. But remember if you don’t pay, you can’t complain when your garbage is not collected,” Minister McKenzie said.