Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Monday | July 6, 2009
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Parish councils urged to seek more revenue
Parish council officials have been urged to pull up their bootstraps and identify new and creative ways of earning additional revenue.

The recommendation was made by State Minister Robert Montague, the Government's portfolio pointman, who works in the Office of the Prime Minister.

"Councillors are making representations for more money to spend and very few are making suggestions as to how we could increase the revenue," Montague lamented, as he addressed a meeting of the St Catherine Parish Council in Spanish Town last Monday.

One proposal made by Manchester parish councillors - aimed at closing the island's 60 per cent shortfall in property tax intake - has, however, resonated with Jamaica House. The proposal, Montague said, had to be examined by officials of the Local Government Department and the Treasury.

"Their suggestion is that if they aid in the collection of back taxes, they would want a substantial portion of that to be remitted to their council," the state minister said.

"That is a suggestion that we are actively pursuing because as you know, matters dealing with taxation have to have the approval of the Ministry of Finance, the prime minister and the Cabinet," he added.

Among the services which property taxes fund are the fire brigade, garbage collection and street lighting.

Montague's address was part of a series of islandwide meetings with local authorities.

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