NEWS

Nasinu Owed $9M

Grass cutting, drain cleaning and enforcement services at a standstill $9 million owed in rates and arrears, rate collection stands at 57 per cent
05 Jan 2021 11:14
Nasinu Owed $9M
Kristelle Tuitoga 8, passes unattended grass normally cut by Nasinu Town Councial along Vere Street at Laucala Beach on January 4, 2021. Photo: Leon Lord

The grasses along the footpaths in Nasinu’s suburbs grows out of control. In many areas’ drains are blocked by either the overgrown grass or the rubbish thrown by residents.

The Nasinu Town Council has come out saying that they do not have the money to carry out these services and others, including enforcement and health checks.

The money issue is with many ratepayers who have yet to pay their rates and arrears.

Nasinu chief executive officer Anurashika Bari said of 11,252 registered ratepayers, only 57 per cent pay their rates.

“We have collected a total of $1.76 million, which includes both town rates and garbage collection fees. This accounts for the 57 per cent that have paid at the end of 2020,” she said.

“If all ratepayers paid up, we would have $2.86 million. Now the cost of solid waste collection is $2.2 million. It is simple math. We do have enough cash to carry on the other important services.”

The Nasinu Town Council is owed more than $9 million in rates and arrears. The collection of this would be enough to fill up the coffers of the council and these services resuming.

Ms Bari said the council looked after 17 informal settlements with a collective population of more than 3000 households.

She said these people did not pay any rates or garbage fees, yet garbage collection services were given to them. Nasinu special administrator Baskaran Nair said Nasinu’s rates were among the lowest in the country. He said a rate and garbage fee increase was proposed, but considering COVID-19, it was pushed back.

“Right now, people are paying on average 75 cents for every time their solid waste is collected, this equates to $10 a month. Yet people are not paying, but want services to continue,” he said.

Mr Nair said this also brought about the issue of civic pride. He said the council was in a conundrum because of defaulting ratepayers. He said the good ratepayers were suffering because of the defaulters.

According to Mr Nair, Nasinu residents can help by taking the initiative to cut grass and clean drains in front of their homes.

He said the council was urging people who owed money to the council to step and decide.

He said if the money was paid to the council, services which had been halted could start again.

shalveen.chand@fijisun.com.fj

 

 



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