In an effort to encourage residents to pay their property taxes, Citco has been giving discounts to those who pay within the months of January to March. But in that same vein, the council has increased property taxes by one percent this year and some say it cancels out the discount. Today, Mayor Bernard Wagner clarified, saying that taxes were to be increased from the time they took office back in 2018, but is only coming into effect now.

Bernard Wagner, Belize City Mayor
“If we go by the law, we should have done an increase about five years ago. There is a quinquennial process which should have been executed in 2017. When we came into office in 2018, we didn’t pursue it, but given the circumstances and especially after 2020 and 2021, we couldn’t see how we could ever look to increase property taxes. But 2022 is actually only one percent and if you are paying one hundred dollars in property taxes – say for last year – so one percent increase in that will give you one dollar that you are paying extra now. But we are giving fifteen percent discount so it really nullifies, it cancels out everything.”

Reporter
“Only for the start though? For the first few weeks or months.”

Bernard Wagner
“Yeah, the fifteen percent is for January, in February, it’s ten percent and in March, five percent. The city owes us twenty-one million dollars. How can you balance the demands of the city and not be able to collect the money that is owed to you. Twenty-one million dollars and each and every one of you see the state of the streets, but you expect us to fix the streets. S we can’t fix it if we don’t get in our revenues. It is a simple, simple ABC.”

The increase will bring in an additional one point four million dollars to the council.

Channel 5