If you drive a motor vehicle and you have to renew your driverís license then you will have to pay an additional 20 dollars hereafter, no matter where you live. Today Belize City Mayor told Love News that it was a decision that came from the Ministries of Transport and Local Government following a discussion between the Ministry of Transport and the Mayorsí Association.
ďItís one law that applies to all municipalities and the Ministry of Transport operations throughout the country and the statutory instrument was put in force and the rates now have been increased and that rate will apply to Belize City as well even though we are not the ones who were pressing that. I think this is was one of the reasons why it was done because some of the municipalities had raised the fees without the requisite statutory instrument being put in place and I think this is the ministryís response. There was ongoing dialogue with those Mayors and the Ministry of Transport has now put in place the requisite statutory instrument to legalize what they have been doing by practice. Itís a must because the rate specifies what the fee is; the rate specifies that the fee for the collection of license and the renewal is a certain amount and that law operates as a tax and if you donít apply the rate thatís in that tax as specified then you would be under collecting and you would be defeating the revenue and so, whatever the law says that is what we will implement.Ē
Bradley says that the increase in driverís license prices comes as a blessing to the Council, which was already doing good on revenue collections, but he added that the increase in the fee can also mean a reduction in the garbage tax fee when that comes on stream.
ďWe were quite comfortable with what the City was charging and we had no real reason to move for an increase because we had always operated with the upgraded driverís license, so it simply represents additional revenue for the City which will help us to meet our recurrent expenses and to continue our aggressive infrastructure. What we will do is that we will now look at our forecasting; due to a lot of drivers in the city, that will represent a certain increase in our revenue and we will look at where we are with our municipal bond, infrastructure projects, operational revenues and what we need; of course, we will look at the residential garbage fees to see if it can be adjusted to give residents a little ease. We deliberately did not implement that fee because we wanted to implement it at the last point when we determined that we actually needed that revenue. The City has been doing very well thus far with all our additional enforcement mechanisms; the street works have encouraged people to want to voluntarily pay their taxes so our collections is very high; this additional revenue source will assist us even more and what then we will do is look at ways how we could ease residents in the City and that is what we are looking at in terms of the residential garbage fee; we are looking to either scrap it or reduce the rate. Of course, there is a portion of it that we had worked out that is going to come into effect because that will go to the Solid Waste Management Authority that will not come to the City and that is as a result of the Solid Waste project. We have no control over that and that authority comes under the Ministry of Natural Resources; they may indicate that they will still need their portion of the revenue and in that case, we may reduce the rate if our projections are holding and if we can meet our obligations with this additional revenue.Ē
Mayor Bradley says the Council will air advertisements to publicize the new fees for driverís licenses, which take effect immediately.