City Hall is using its last option to recover some 3.2 billion dollars owed to the Council by defaulting tax payers. The body has given its lawyers the green light to process the necessary paperwork to bring legal action against persons who owe the Council. Mark Murray explains.
After issuing final warning letters, City Hall is going after every cent it needs to provide various services from delinquent taxpayers who continue to force the Georgetown municipality to operate with a negative cash flow.
During a press briefing, it was announced that City Hall is now using the option of legal action and that of selling properties after several warnings were given to defaulters.
City Treasurer, Ron McAlmont said once everything is filed properly then within six weeks judgement could be given to City Hall as the body tried to recover the outstanding funds.
He outlined that “once that is done, then there is the next step where we have to put that in the Official Gazette…You’re looking at six weeks the most, as it relates to getting judgement and publishing those in the Official Gazette.” McAlmont said based on the authority it is afforded in the law, it will be going after the delinquent taxpayers. However, they will be given a chance to negotiate with the Council.
McAlmont said Council always needs money to finance its operation and there is an outstanding amount of $3.2B in rates and taxes which does not include interest accumulated over the years.
“Rates is at least about 65-71 percent of our revenue that is collected on a yearly basis. So that is why the need for ‘operation rate recovery’ because that is the biggest jump and the way we need to go in terms of the collection and ensuring that we have monies,” the City Treasurer said.
The Council earlier this month rolled out a campaign called ‘Operation Rate Recovery’ within the city where notices were hand delivered to property owners by the Treasury Department.
Already the Council has managed to collect 14.6 million dollars from four wards in the city since the campaign started.
It is the hope of City Hall to issue 10 thousand notices, statements, warning letters and final warning letters to residents by the end of May.