At the start of his term, Belize City Mayor Bernard Wagner was very vocal in saying that his predecessors offered discounts on property taxes that caused a major hemorrhage to the council finances. The mayor is now nearing the end of his three-year term and has now begun offering tax discounts and other incentives similar to the ones he had he sought to condemn. Yesterday the mayor was asked to elaborate on the sudden shift in his views.
Bernard Wagner, Mayor of Belize City: You all don’t support that businesses and property owners get a discount given the fact that we are through a pandemic? We are not a – I’ll be the first to tell you that we don’t support discounts but there’s a change, there’s a shift, there’s a pandemic and people’s income, business resources have depleted and so you have to be able to bring all those things together so that there’s an ease for the public at large. We are offering up to 25% on property tax if you meet that deadline before the ending of February and so you’ll be able to enjoy that 25%. There’s also the normal program for the elderly, the golden citizens, that is still in effect as well. Many businesses during 2020 had already paid in trade license fees and were unable to operate so we felt that it was important for us as a council to give back some level of rebate or discount per se .”