Belize City Council highlights challenge areas
As we reported last night, the Belize City Council held a public meeting this week where multiple issues affecting the council were discussed. These range from revenue collection to derelict vehicles, and from abandoned properties to property taxes. The presentation at the public meeting included aerial shots of portions of the city where abandoned lots are being nuisances. The council’s Valuation Manager, Troy Smith presented on the areas that they are having challenges to address.
Troy Smith, Valuation Manager: “So look at it carefully at the top the amount of empty property within the Wagner’s Lane, Down Town Albert Street, South Street, Church Street it’s a huge amount of properties. These property create tremendous nuisance to the community. I will echo what the mayor said earlier I think the mayor get my presentation already. If you read it very clearly I will echo the same sentiment it speaks about these type of issues, rats and rodents and all the different fleas within the neighborhood. This looks bad. To have a city more modern and smart, we’re still in this era and I must commend the mayor and the council because we need to address these issues. These are issues live on the ground. They affect taxation, they affect a lot of different areas of life and so, in a short essence Wagner’s is one clip of the entire city. The other area I want to show is Rocky Road, close to Wagner’s Lane. It’s a huge amount of lots where, in our view, some of them are surveyed some of them are not surveyed and we understand the different problems that we had when it comes to why tax is not collected. So a lot of issues and so on the top of the sky you can see a tremendous disappointment in the city. All right? It looks very bad on the top. On the ground you won’t see that. You will see a high bush overgrown property. You will see just a lot empty but on the top, you can see how it looks. It deprives the city of development. All right? So that’s Rocky Road and Wagner’s alley.
Smith went on to explain that these issues arise after the council gets multiple complaints due to abandoned lots in the city.
Troy Smith, Valuation Manager: “Last year alone, we got 165 complaints. That’s a lot. People are complaining to the council to go in and clean these lands. It creates snakes in their yard, raccoon in the yard. All right, and so it’s 165 person called in or wrote in to the council and the council have tireless nights and days to clean these properties and then this year so far, 73 persons have called, written, came into the office to complain about these abandoned properties. So there’s an overwhelming complaints within the municipality and everyday people come to the council “when will you bush the neighbour property? When will you clean ? It’s not so there’s legal proceedings to do that. All right? Now, this is interesting these are some stats we put. This is real data. So when we hear the mayor decide to deploy this action plan we went back on the ground to verify these properties. And just within one week we did all this. Zone one. Zone one, you might not know zone one, but zone one is in the Queen’s Square and the Mesop area; 74 abandoned property in zone one. That’s a lot in a small space which give us a value of $4.5 million in market value. But watch the tax, over a million dollars not paid and this is over the years we’re trying to find these owners, we’re trying to get this tax collected but to some, to no avail. Zone 1B, 1B is zone… 1B is number 81, I think, no 31. Small area which is the Fort George, very small but look at the value of these property. I show you earlier the high end, low end, medium end value it yields over $3 million in value which gives us a tax of $419,000 outstanding and growing. That’s a huge amount of money outstanding.”