The Government is looking to review the building fees charged by municipal authorities with the aim of putting a standardised system in place and increase what are considered outdated rates.
However, the Local Government Ministry is also stressing to officials in the municipal authorities that service levels have to be increased if there is to be general acceptance of the rates following review.
Right now each parish has its own building fees. The suggestion is not for one standardized fee but rates would be based on potential or prospects for infrastructural development.
According to the Ministry of Local Government, developers have long raised concerns about the fragmented nature of the fees charged by various local authorities and the resultant complications.
Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Desmond McKenzie, told executives from the 14 municipal corporations that “in nine out of 10 cases, the fees that we charge are considered outdated and don’t bear any real relevance to modern times”.
He was speaking in a meeting with mayors, chief executive officers and chief engineering officers at his Hagley Park Road offices on Tuesday, November 27.
“Also, one of the handicaps surrounding the performance of the municipal corporations is lack of adequate funding. It is important, therefore, that we all understand and appreciate that the fees that we charge are critical to our survival, so an attempt must be made to maximise to its full potential the fees that are available and to have a serious review of the existing fee structure,” he added.
“I have been in discussions…with some mayors and there seems to be consensus around a standardised fee structure. Within that structure… you look at the parish based on its potential and then you would put those parishes at a certain category,” Mr. McKenzie said.
He noted that parishes with high potential for infrastructural investment would not be classified to charge the same amount for building fees as those parishes with lower prospects.
By: Franklin McKnight