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By Jarryl BryanSeveral novel ideas were touted as the agendae of the six contestants vying for the 15 seats on the Georgetown City Council, during the inaugural debate for candidates in the upcoming Local Government Elections (LGE).The ideas include raising the litterbug fine, introducing parking meters and restoring the Lotto Fund under the Mayor and City Council (M&CC).The ideas came from Dr. Phillip Thomas, from a Guyana Nation Builders Corps; Mark Benschop from Team Benschop; Sherod Duncan from A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC), Michael Leonard from Team Legacy, Clayon Halley from Youth for Local Government and James Cole from the People’s Progressive Party (PPP).During the event,Cheap Jerseys Free Shipping, which was held on Saturday at the Theatre Guild and fashioned like the United States of America Town Hall Debates, the Candidates fielded questions from a panel comprising civil society and journalists who queried their policies.Plans for generating revenueOne of the highlights in the debate was the candidates’ responses to what they would do to ensure that City Hall increases its revenue generation. While city hall does generate money from the collection of taxes and other avenues, they have been executing works based on the subvention given by Central government for years.Sherod Duncan slammed Government’s allocation of $2B to the City Council, which he noted was the same amount budgeted to the University of Guyana. He made it clear that this is inadequate. Duncan did propose the restoration of the Lotto Fund as one way in which money can be raised.“City Council is the entity that brought the Lotto,” Duncan pointed out. “But then the idea was siphoned off by Central Government. If City Hall had the money from the lotto alone, well, then we could balance the budget. We want the Lotto back to City Council.”The six contestants congratulate each other after the debate.For James Cole, his policy will be to extend an amnesty to city businesses that will have them coming in voluntarily in order to negotiate paying off their outstanding rates and taxes. He stated that this will be aimed at Commercial buildings.Meanwhile, Clayon Halley touted the enforcement side of the M&CC. He stated that besides looking at the collection of Rates and Taxes, his policy will be to ensure that individuals, once charged for various offences, including littering, pay their fines.“Over time we are seeing a lot of persons have been charged with various offences,Wholesale Jerseys Free Shipping, and sometimes we don’t even know where the money went,” he said. “We also want to have a stricter penalty when it comes to littering. $10,000 is nothing to deter persons from littering.”“If we use that as an avenue to fine and charge people (for littering) when we get that opportunity,” he continued “then that’s also a way of generating income for the Council.”Meanwhile, Dr. Thomas emphasized the importance of ensuring that visitors to the city contribute in some way. He spoke of municipal bonds,Wholesale Cheap NFL Jerseys China, where individuals would have the opportunity to invest.“Once they become a stakeholder in the process,Cheap Jerseys 2018, they would have more interest in how the money is being spent to develop the city,” he said. “And there are various programs of fundraising. There are the municipal bonds; there are grants from international agencies,NFL Jerseys Wholesale, there are various ways the city can look to raise funds outside of the Central Government.”Mark Benschop spoke of the importance in ensuring that parking fines are collected to raise revenues. He also noted that millions of dollars is spent on advertisements around the city. He observed that if television and radio marketing are added to the services that M&CC’s can provide, this can be an added cash boost.“That would be able to make at least $80M per year,” Benschop said. “We will also target bus stops around the city, where we will introduce advertisements on the billboards on the bus sheds.”Benschop also promised that once elected, he would find a way to correct the current level of rates collection in the city, which he noted is below 50 percent.Michael Leonard posited that establishing parking meters is one way of boosting revenues. He also touted the importance of budget planning, which will take into account expanding revenue collection. However, Leonard was passionate about the need for fair taxation.“It’s not fair for the residents of a small building to be paying the same rates and taxes as the person next to them with a three storey building,” Leonard said. “So we need to look at understanding who is using extensive city services.”Leonard also spoke of persons who are living outside of Georgetown, but come into the capital city for business purposes. He noted that they make use of city services and open spaces but they do not contribute to revenue.“So we need toll stations,” he said. “And things like that to ensure that once you come into the city,Wholesale Jerseys China, you contribute to us.”
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