During a visit to the Portland Parish Council on Wednesday, January 23, 2012, Minister of Local Government & Community Development, Hon. Noel Arscott told the Council that they have the ability to address most of the problems being experienced in the parish. He explained that one way of doing this is through an established parish development plan and increased collection of property tax.
Minister Arscott charged the council to complete their Parish Development Plan in order to guide the physical and economic development of Portland. He further encouraged council to develop the tourism product by concentrating of the cruise ship industry as the parish of Portland has;”too rich a history not to capitalize on its tourism potential”. He cautioned however, that care must be taken to avoid destroying the environment in the process.
With regards to property tax collection, the Minister reminded the gathering that this is a major source of funding for local amenities,’you must find ways of boosting collection”; he directed the council. He also revealed that property tax collection in the parish is currently at 50% of the target. With this sizeable arrears of $ 142 M, the Portland Parish Council by increasing property tax collection would be able to place itself in a favourable position to increase its service delivery in the parish.
The Minister was addressing councillors and members of staff of the Portland Parish Council during the first in a series of visits which will see him visiting all the Local Authorities over a three month period. Minister Arscott will next be calling on the St. Thomas Parish Council on Wednesday February 6, 2013.