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Sep 1, 2021

Charging Belize City Residents for Garbage Collection

Bernard Wagner

If you live in Belize City, you may have noticed trash beginning to pile up in your neighbourhood. Well, there is a problem brewing with the collection and we will get to that in a moment, but News Five has found out that you may be seeing yet another bill for your household beginning in April 2022. News Five has confirmed with Belize City Mayor Bernard Wagner that the Mayors Association of Belize is working on a cabinet paper that will be forwarded to the Ministry of Local Government. The aim is to amend the Belize City Council Act to allow for a small fee to be charged for residential garbage. For some years now, the idea had been tossed around, but is now is gathering momentum. As it currently stands, the Town Council Act, by way of S.I. thirteen of 2005, says “every owner or occupier of premises within the limits of any town shall pay a monthly fee to the council for the regular collection and disposal of garbage.” And while that is also the case for Belmopan, the Belize City Council Act doesn’t allow for this.  Instead at section five (two), it says “no fee shall be payable for the collection of residential garbage.” It continues that the council either does it itself or through contractors employed by the council. Belize City Mayor Bernard Wagner, who is also president of the Mayors Association of Belize, says that he is willing to be the sacrificial lamb in adding a fee to collect garbage.

 

Bernard Wagner, Belize City Mayor

“The solution has to be a long-term solution. This type of short-term thinking is not working. The mere fact that you are paying out annually, three million dollars in property taxes that is by law designated to fix streets, to deal with drains, to deal with traffic managements, to deal with all the other parks and playgrounds, creating greener spaces for children; women, children, youths, it takes significant amount of our resources out. So the question is why has Belize City been singled out as the only municipality that is not legislated to collect residential garbage fee? I know the previous mayor had started the discussion long ago; for some reason it died off, but it can’t be held back any longer. From the Mayors Association, for which I serve as the president, all the mayors are behind the initiative to get Belize City aligned with all the other municipalities. We are not looking at any exorbitant figures; we are looking in the neighbourhood of ten dollars a month, but residents must pay something towards garbage.”

 

Duane Moody

“Any timeline for when that is..”

 

Bernard Wagner

“Well that will be in our budget for the 2022/2023 fiscal year. We have a timeline by way of the Mayors Association to get this done by January 2022 so that it becomes law by April 2022 and we start to move in that direction. But that’s the long-term solution. That’s a solution that will solve future mayor’s problem. They will never have that problem again. And if I, as Mayor Wagner, have to be the sacrificial lamb for that, then I am willing to be the sacrifice.”


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