Analysis

Municipal Councils – Let’s All Be Held Responsible

Government does not have an unlimited pool of money to continue paying millions for a service when those who are the beneficiaries of the service are not paying their own share.
15 Mar 2020 15:28
Municipal Councils – Let’s All Be Held Responsible
Nasinu Town Council workers clearing away rubbish that was piled along the roadside. Photo: Renu Radhika

Millions of dollars are owed to towns and city councils in rates. Every municipal council is owed rates by ratepayers and this issue cannot be left unchecked.

What happens when ratepayers don’t pay their rates?

The garbage collection that we take for granted requires money. Government does not have an unlimited pool of money to continue paying millions for a service when those who are the beneficiaries of the service are not paying their own share.

Every town and city in a country, which heavily relies on tourists, need to be beautified regularly. Whether it is putting up a new park, new toilet facilities, new lights, new flower arrangements, all require money.

But, if the towns and city councils are not getting that money, they cannot solely rely on the central Government to shoulder the burden. Not only is it unfair, but that money from central Government needs to focus on national issues such as healthcare.

Who should pay for a nice park in Suva City? Surely, the council should be able to create that park and pay for its upkeep, but if the council is owed in excess of $2 million every year, what can they really do?

Municipalities and coronavirus:

To prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic, our municipalities need to be in a position to engage commercial cleaning companies. This is not for your regular sweeping of streets. These companies need to be engaged in doing regular wipedown of areas frequented by Fijian public and our tourists.

This will cost money, a cost which should rightly be shouldered by the councils. Now, the councils cannot be held accountable if people lack the sense to pay up their rates on time.

It is about time those who do not pay their rates on time are named and shamed. They should also be placed on a no-fly list and be flagged when making an investment. Every individual needs to be held accountable.

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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