Ratepayers told to ‘pay for service’

Minister for Industry, Trade, Tourism, Local Government, Housing and Community Development Premila Kumar. Picture: FT FILE

“WITHOUT paying the money, you can’t ask for service.”

This was Local Government Minister Premila Kumar’s response when Opposition Whip Lynda Tabuya asked why private rubbish collectors were not being paid on time.

Ms Tabuya said this was the reason why rubbish was not collected in most areas around Nasinu.

“One only need to drive down Nasinu and all the suburbs to see all the rubbish that is increasingly not being collected,” she said.

Mrs Kumar said it was simple logic that people could not ask for service if they were not paying their rates.

“If ratepayers want service, they have to pay,” she said.

Nasinu, she said, was “dubbed a squatter area” and this was a “reality”.

She said only 44 per cent of people living in Nasinu were paying rates.

She said for the Nasinu area, Government had contributed $3 million for garbage collection, but that was still not sufficient.

“So what we are doing, we have done the profiling, we know precisely what’s happening “So what we did, we picked up areas such as Laucala Beach and Kinoya and we tried to understand who are these people who are paying because it’s supposed to be professionals living in that area, people who can afford to pay, we have found that a number of them are not paying their town rates.

“So there are steps being taken, in fact Nasinu Town Council has put caveat on these properties so that if they sell, the councils will come to know and then they’ll recover their dues “But there are other methods being used at the moment.

“Through rate profiling, we know exactly how many ratepayers owe money to about $5000, all these cases are now going to the Small Claims Tribunal and we have categorised it in that way so we can recover the rates.”

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