…consultations to begin soonConsultations will soon commence on the establishment of a tax regime aimed at protecting the poor and at the same time, be favourable to all residents of the new municipality of Bartica, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni).Bartica’s Mayor Gifford Marshall, told Guyana Times that in order for the communities to truly develop at a rapid pace, its residents must play their role in tax contributions to fund the developmental programmes for the township.He underscored the importance of revenue collection for the new municipality but noted that the Bartica Town Council does not seek to place an unreasonable burden by applying excessively high rates.“What we seek to establish is a municipal tax regime that is fair, and which shares the overall burden so that those with greater ability pay more, and less fortunate residents pay only according to the actual market value of their property,” he said.Marshall added that this approach will “protect the poor”.“It will set a level playing field for businesses and it will assure the long-term sustainability of the Council, thus ensuring our capability to deliver municipal services to our residents,” the Mayor stated.He emphasised that the Town Council is committed to a transparent and diligent stewardship of all resources from both Central Government and local collections.“All that the municipality does is for the development of Bartica, so residents will in fact be contributing to their own development. And we will do so in a spirit of unity, oneness and a sense of community,” he stated.Truck tollsThe Mayor disclosed that recommendations were made for the implementation of tolls for trucks commuting the roadways within the jurisdiction of the Bartica municipality.“We have trucks patrolling the Potaro Road and some of these trucks are overload with fuel and so forth and that is causing the road to deteriorate. There is a recommendation for us to put in a toll, but we don’t want to impose a toll on the people just like that,” he explained. In this regard, he underscored the importance of widespread consultations ahead of rolling out the new tax system.“We are going to have consultations with the mining sector to arrive at a suitable rate because they already pay large sums of money to cross the various rivers and elsewhere. So it should not be burdensome,” he stated.Marshall said the Council will also look at other areas for revenue collection, such as making open spaces available to the public.He noted too that there needs to be a re-evaluation of the property value since the last assessment was done decades ago.The Mayor stressed that with increased revenue, the Council will be able to fund various developmental activities and improve the services available to the town.