City Hall’s financial woes
… says promises to pay prompted decision
Puran Brothers Disposal Inc and Cevons Waste Management have decided to withdraw their services to City Hall, as the lack of payment to the companies continues despite promises to be paid.
According to the companies, in a joint statement on Saturday, the issue of non-payment for services rendered has been a long standing one. The companies revealed that City Hall’s debt dates as far back as 2015 and promises proffered by the Council have not been honoured.
“Further, engagements between City Hall and us on the matter of outstanding debts are customarily characterised by insensitivity on the part of the municipality’s bureaucrats and disrespect for the two companies and a shocking level of indifference to our appeals for their understanding. A point has reached where we have no faith in their promises,” the companies said in a joint statement.
According to the companies, it was a “sense of obligation” to the public that pushed it to continue its services. The straw that broke the camel’s back, however, dates from July 12, 2017 when the companies resumed work after a four-day suspension of services over the same issue.
They stated that their return is conditional based on a meeting that would have been held to discuss payments. But despite assurances from the Minister of Communities, the companies said, there has been no such meeting nor has the municipal authorities “shown (any) inclination to meet with us.”
“We believe that the citizens would agree that it is entirely unacceptable to expect individuals and companies to provide services without being compensated over a protracted period,” the companies elucidated.
“That is the situation in which we find ourselves. Our services require significant monetary, labour and equipment outlay and have reached a point of near unsustainability, given the fact that the sheer size of City Hall’s debt to us.”
Expressing regret for withdrawing its services and the consequences it would have on the citizenry, the company promised that it would be willing to resume services once proper assurances are given. President David Granger, the companies added, has been formally notified.
For quite some time, the M&CC has been accused of being cash strapped, and on multiple occasions, work around the city has had to be halted, since the municipality was unable to pay workers.
Earlier this year, it was reported that the Council and its partners (the contractors) reached an agreement, which in substance said that the City Treasurer would focus on payment of the current accounts while working to find an arrangement to settle the outstanding debts for 2016 while avoiding service disruption.
The Council has said that it would be putting alternative measures in place for garbage collection, and urged residents to ensure they properly dispose of their waste and await the arrival of the garbage collectors. They also say that the Treasurer’s Department would be intensifying its revenue collection drive to recover money owed to the city.
At a meeting with stakeholders in April 2017, the Mayor had informed that the Council is cash strapped and requested businesses pay more for commercial waste disposal. Mayor Chase Green had told business folks that City Hall cannot afford to keep up with the weekly amount of $1.8 million to clear commercial waste.
Though there have been talks of the implementation of a new fee for commercial waste, City Hall officials have remained mum on just how much they are proposing to charge. Notwithstanding, the Mayor threatened that should businesses refuse to pay the new fee, City Hall will have to resort to using the law to discipline them.
Town Clerk Royston King noted that even if citizens pay all of their outstanding taxes, the Council would still fall short of enough money to cover everything it has to do. King said the implementation of a new fee is in order because the service of waste disposal is a very expensive one that the Council cannot afford at the moment.