Belize City Council Addresses Issues of Revenue Collection and Abandoned Properties
The property tax arrears in Belize City amounts to over one million dollars. Troy Smith, in his presentation, noted that there are many reasons why the properties, houses and lots are abandoned, subsequently, resulting in tax arrears.
Troy Smith, Valuation Manager: “Death of owners now this is number one. We have a lot of people own property within Belize City as in estate. People don’t understand when a person dies the tax does not die. The tax is on the property, not on the person. The person’s obligation is to pay the tax for the property for what? Essential services. What are those? Drain, garbage, street, beautification, traffic management, I could name them all. And so many people who own property in the city died and the executor or the administrator don’t know what to do. That’s why I have the legal counsel here watching you. He will tell you what to do, all right? But he has a fee, all right? But I wanna say this. This is the reason why we face a lot of property abandoned, because property owner died and left it in the state and no family member decide to go and file for the grant of administration. It’s left there unwanted. It’s left it undisturbed and it’s left there where no tax is being paid. You cannot pay the tax, you can’t maintain the property, you don’t want to sell it, so you leave it there. It becomes a nuisance to the community and by extension to society. Natural disaster. Lisa, taught us a lot. A lot of houses went down, up to now some houses are left right there abandoned. No owner, nobody takes the initiative to come and clean their space and they expect to council to go and clean it. Everything has a cost, everything have fee. So we cannot continue to have these property leave there undisturbed.”
The town hall meeting took place at the Civic Center on June 21.