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By Zena Henry Stemming from allegations that Mayor Hamilton Green sought to write-off millions of dollars in property taxes owed by his wife, questions arose as to why there is no Ratings Appeals Panel to address concerns of persons displeased with their property valuation taxes.City Mayor Hamilton GreenMayor Green, at a press conference yesterday addressed the tax evasion issue, publicly claiming that some sections of the media seemed to have deliberately blown the matter out of proportion. He spoke directly of an article which said that the Mayor broke up Monday’s statutory meeting as he “dodges exposure.” Several Councilors walked out of the statutory meeting on Monday claiming their unwillingness to work with acting Town Clerk, Carol Sooba, whom they alleged deliberately ignores the orders of the Council.According to Green, the issue surrounding his wife’s property tax payment is one that exists where several other Guyanese would have highlighted their concerns with what they felt were inappropriate property valuation fees.He explained that when the building owned by his wife, Dr. Jennifer Basdeo, at XX Mandela Avenue and Jamoon Drive, was first constructed, “it was clear that the valuation attached was exorbitant.” Taxes, he said, are based on valuation, which is done by the Chief Valuation Officer and Valuation Division, under the direct control of the Finance Ministry. This, he said, means that the Mayor or Councillors never had any influence or control over that entity.He said, however, that when the valuation of the property came, his wife from the inception appealed for a re-evaluation and every year since then,Wholesale Football Jerseys, he has appealed both verbally and in writing that the valuation was inappropriate and excessive.Why the use of the building and measurement made up the initial valuation, Green said, is a matter for speculation, taking into account the, “extant environment political and otherwise at that time.”  He however charged that, “any citizen,Wholesale Hockey Jerseys China, any property owner who has a concern about their valuation and therefore taxes should by law, and by convention, appeal to the Ratings Appeal Panel. That is the institution set up for that purpose, again appointed by and controlled by the Central Government.”“For reasons which I have not yet heard the media ask the President or the government gurus to explain… Why there is no ratings appeals panel? Why there is,Cheap China Jerseys Authentic, in flagrant violation of the constitution that governs this country,NFL Jerseys Supply, also no Ombudsman.”A person,Cheap Jerseys Wholesale, he said, who could not appeal to the ratings appeal panel would have had the second option of an Ombudsman, but neither exists.Green said that the two avenues opened to Dr. Basdeo to appeal against her valuation did not exist. He further said that every year an appeal was made to the Town Clerk and the valuation division to have the valuation adjusted.“Only last year after tedium of long conversations was she able to persuade the valuation division to look at the property at XX Mandela Avenue, which was resurveyed, re-measured and examined.”Green said that in late 2012 a new valuation was issued to the Mayor and City Council showing that the initial valuation was excessive and that the new valuation vindicated her (Dr. Basdeo) initial concerns expressed over the years. “In a letter to the Town Clerk, a request was made to look at that excessive valuation and Dr. Basdeo made an offer to pay the rates and taxes in a fair manner within 48 hours…so that Mrs. Sooba’s asseverations are either figments of a diabolical mind or to divert from the issue at hand.”Adding her piece, Deputy Town Clerk, Patricia Chase-Green said that, “there is nothing strange in anyone writing to the Council for a waiver of interest in taxes, or for no payment of taxes at all.“The law; schedule 2:12 clearly says that, ‘the Council should have power to exempt from liability to pay rates either wholly or in part in respect to properties listed in this section and the owners thereof’.”Chase-Green said that in this instance, the Town Clerk has “overstepped her boundaries”.Deputy Mayor Patricia Chase-Green“All matters for waivers of interest and taxes are done by the Council, not the Town Clerk. She carries out that decision of the Council.  If the Council is not able to deal with the issue,Wholesale Jerseys 2017, the Minister by law under Chapter 28:01 has that power to write off any taxes or waiver. The Minister may by order designate any other property in respect of which no rates shall be payable.”The Mayor’s matter, and many others, were earmarked for decision at Monday’s statutory meeting. Listed under the Finance Committee, Chase–Green said that there are many other agencies writing to the Council for waiver of interest on their properties.She said Sooba does not have the authority to deal with tax matters so it should be left for the Council’s decision and if the Council cannot deal with it, then the last say is with the Local Government Minister.
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