Property tax increase added to financial woes of San Pedro residents

Elito Arceo

Elito Arceo

Earlier in the newscast, we told you about the water problems, and if that were not enough, San Pedro residents just found out via their new property tax bills that the San Pedro Town Council will increase the rates. This was unwelcomed and burdensome news to the island's business community which is already grappling with dwindling tourist arrivals. The President of the Ambergris Caye Citizens for Sustainable Development, Elito Arceo, says the crippling news was devastating.

Elito Arceo, Pres., Ambergris Caye Citizens for Sustainable Dev.

"It looks like the property rates have actually gone up. Percentage-wise I think it's about two thousand percent if I'm not mistaken on some properties. The economic times are bad, the last thing they want to see is an increase on their property taxes and what is the justification, of course, for all those increases. GST, we just had that and then of course the water rates and then now the property goes up so all of that are big concerns for the business community."

The news about the increases irked a member of the organisation so much that he fired off a letter criticising the increases. That letter prompted a response from the San Pedro Town Council which apologised for what it termed as an error on the bills. That error, according to a press release from the Council, came about because property assessment is due for the year 2011- 2012. The San Pedro Town Council release states that the figures and percentages enclosed in the assessments are not the actual ones and that it is working on getting advice for proper assessments. After the correct figures have been determined, the Council says the Valuation Appeals Board will review them. Two people had already paid their bills and the Council says it will notify them of the error and a credit will be given towards their account. And if you were wondering just what your new property tax in San Pedro will be, well, the press release says all who have not paid will be billed based on last year's assessment.

Channel 5