The municipality of New Amsterdam is proposing a $224 million budget for 2021.
This proposal was presented on Friday by Municipal Treasurer Kerryanne Edwards. Of this amount, $98 million is to be collected as property tax while $39 million will come from market fees, the Municipal Treasurer said. Last year, the same amount was budgeted to be collected as market fees, but only $24 million was actually collected. In 2020, the municipality budgeted $91 million to be collected as property tax, but collected $65 million. Also, in 2020, the municipality only spent 72 per cent of the $218 million budgeted. Edwards pointed out that 2020 was a challenging year, adding that nevertheless, property owners came forward and paid their property taxes, allowing the municipality to keep its more than 90 staffers off the breadline.
“Taxes is our main source and it can be paid at the beginning of the year in total, quarterly or half-yearly. There is a tendency with a lot of property owners if we do not go out and collect revenue or issue demand notes, they do not find the time to come in or pay their taxes,” Edwards said.
She added that efforts were being made to ensure the town remains economically viable, safe, and healthy. As such, several projects will be embarked upon. These include upgrades to existing recreational facilities and improving the town’s sanitisation capabilities.
She also called on residents to be more patient, noting that there were shortcomings affecting the municipality.
“Considering our resources, the Council is trying its best and all departments along with the Councillors are working on projects that would give residents value for their money,” Edwards said.
Meanwhile, acting Mayor Wainwright McIntosh explained that the Council held consultations with the residents of the township before the projects were put into the budget proposal.
“We believe that democracy is the government of the people, by the people and for the people. We believe in inclusivity. Hence, the different heads of departments would have toiled, they would have laboured to ensure that budget 2021 is a comprehensive budget that will meet the demands of our citizens which will ultimately contribute to the growth and development of this beautiful town of ours.”
He said citizens must be given the opportunity to be part of the legislation-making process. Sadly, he noted, invitations were sent for persons to attend community meetings, but only a few responded.
However, the acting Mayor noted that Central Government was playing a pivotal part in the development of the town.