Dear Editor, Dear Editor, The Town Clerk of Georgetown’s announcement of new and special rates for the collection and disposal of waste from businesses in the city, and the charging of a tax that he is calling a haulage fee on private contractors providing collection and disposal services to these businesses, is nothing short of financial terrorism and extortion. The Private Sector and Chamber of Commerce needs to take the matter to court to stop its implementation for a number of reasons, including the following: 1. It is not a decision of full Council, as he is alleging. Could he produce the agenda for, and the minutes of, the meeting of Full Council that approved this proposal?2. It is illegal and constitutes double taxation, as the Council, a number of years ago, hiked the percentage charged for property rates on businesses to a whopping 250% (quite a substantial difference than that which is paid for residential property rates, which is 40%). And the justification they used for that hike was to cover the cost of collecting and disposing of commercial waste. They can’t now charge another fee for the same purpose. The objective of collecting property rates includes for the provision of refuse collection and disposal services. 3. There was not sufficient consultation on the matter. Could he provide evidence of the extensive consultations and discussions with different stakeholders, including members of the local private sector and non-governmental organizations and community-based groups, as he alleges?4. What methodology is he using for determining which is a small business that would have to pay City Hall Gy,000 per month; a medium business Gy,000 per month and a large business Gy,000 per month?5. The City Council is not the GRA, nor is it a licensing authority, and therefore the decision to charge a percentage earned by private contractors who are hauling industrial and commercial waste through Georgetown is just punitive and spiteful. These contractors are helping the Council, as it is the Council’s responsibility to provide this service for the rates they collect. And how will the Town Clerk monitor and implement it? By putting drones overhead to follow the private garbage collectors around?This tax is reminiscent of the illegal container tax that he attempted to implement, and the move is considered vindictive against the two contractors who have had to withdraw their services.City Council say they cannot afford the 50 million dollars per month being paid for garbage collection, but can they afford the more than 100 million dollars they dole out each month in salaries? Why are they not talking about that also? The culture of private garbage collection was created by them when they abandoned their own system of garbage collection. Why did they change it? Who benefited from this change? City Hall is like a dog chasing its own tail. What is needed there is not increased revenue, but better management of the Council?
Sincerely, Amber Valentine