Full Council did not vote on garbage collection fees – Councillor

… slams proposed decision to charge businesses

A fully constituted Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) did not vote to impose fees on city businesses in order to collect garbage, yet this decision was taken by City Hall. A price schedule was recently released.
The proposal is not going down well with People’s Progressive Party (PPP) representative on the Council, Bishram Kuppen. In an interview with this publication, he took City Hall to task for the decision.
“There was no vote,” he said. “This is a matter that was in discussion, but for the Council to come out and say that the decision was made and there were consultations, I’m not aware of that. Even if there were consultations, the Town Clerk cannot make that decision.”
Kuppen noted that committees should make recommendations, after consulting with stakeholders or the public. These recommendations, once made to the full Council, should then be discussed and voted on. He queried who made such a momentous decision without a vote on the Council. Kuppen noted that the issue would be raised at the next meeting.
“It has to come before the full Council as recommendations and then (a) vote. There are no indications what would constitute a small business, what is a medium business. Generally, you have committees in the Council that make recommendations. And those recommendations are brought to the full Council to be voted on. I am not aware of any meeting.”
“You can’t implement fees without the full Council’s approval. Now the Finance Committee makes certain recommendations, and somehow I think they are of the opinion that the Finance Committee can make decisions for the entire Council. If that is the case then they have no need for Council.”
It was reported in sections of the media that Town Clerk Royston King had announced that from September 1, 2017; small businesses will have to pay $5000 per month for garbage collection, while medium-scale businesses would have to pay $8000. Large businesses would be required to pay $12,000 per month.
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 and waste disposal service providers.
This prompted Puran Brothers Disposal and Cevons Waste Management to withdraw their services, as City Hall’s debts rose to the multimillion-dollar range. According to the companies, the issue of non-payment has been a long standing one. The companies had revealed that City Hall’s debts date as far back as 2015 and promises proffered by the council have not been honoured.
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 the business folks that City Hall cannot afford to keep up with the weekly amount of $1.8 million only 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 King has in the past said 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.