Clarendon sets out to meet Property Tax targets

CPC, May Pen-February 12, 2015

Clarendon Parish Councillors were encouraged to pay any property tax arrears they may have including taxes owed on lands owned by their parents or grandparents. The warning was issued by Secretary/Manager Rowhan Blake at the monthly Full Council meeting held on Thursday, February 12.

Secretary/Manager Blake explained that prominent citizens which include councillors as well as large landowners will be targeted on a drive to collect the nearly two hundred and seventy million dollars ($270M) which the Parish Council has to collect if it is to meet Clarendon’s target for the 2014/2015 financial year.

The property tax collection drive will be focused on recouping arrears in the three tax collectorate areas-May Pen, Chapelton and Lionel Town-which have a balance on their targets of $107M, $130M and $32M respectively.

The property tax team, which will embark on a special six-week collection drive as of Monday, February 16, is confident that it will be able to collect in excess of the targets for the May Pen and Lionel Town collectorates, perhaps even tripling the collection for Lionel Town. However it anticipates a major challenge in Chapelton suggesting that it may only be able to collect only $10M of the target.

According to the Secretary/Manager if the team is able to collect the $110M and $90M it has committed to in May Pen and Lionel Town this would increase the parish’s property collections from 60% to 70% of target for the financial year 2014/2015.

Clarendon is currently lagging 12% behind the national average of 72%. The Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC) leads all local authorities having collected 92% of its 2014/2015 property tax target to date.

Meanwhile the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development is to implement a series of measures in conjunction with the local authorities to improve property tax collection. The Ministry is to engage large landowners including the National Land Agency and the Commissioner of Lands in a bid to regularise land ownership and transfer ownership to private citizens as it seeks to have more persons reflected on the tax roll and paying their property taxes.