PONDA: In the last meeting of the Ponda Municipal Council (PMC), it took people friendly decision where the PMC deferred its decision on the proposal for commercial and house tax hike, which means the taxes will be charged at old rates of the previous year.
The PMC’s five-year tenure ends on 20 May, elections could be declared any time for a fresh Council, and today was the last special meeting. There will be one more meeting, but it will not take any decision but only confirm the minutes.
It may be recalled that a few months ago, the PMC had proposed a hike in its house and commercial taxes claiming there had been no tax hike for the past several years and that PMC even struggled to clear its monthly salaries due to a shortage of revenue.
The PMC had invited suggestions from the public at that time, and in responding to it, the businessmen’s forum opposed the tax hike.
Today speaking to the media after Council Meeting Chairperson Ritesh Naik said the Council had deferred the decision on the proposed hike in taxes for commercial and house tax.PMC also passed a surplus budget of Rs 14 Crore, with total revenue expected at Rs 78.64 crore while expenditure is projected at Rs 64.36 crore.
PMC also decided to auction off Sopo tender as there were no bidders. The initial bid was Rs 63 lakh, including GST, and there was no response. The fresh auction will be conducted at an initial bid of Rs 53 lakh, including GST.
Ritesh Naik also said that decision was taken to prohibit U-turns for heavy vehicles at Dada Vaidya Chowk as it could invite accidents. The vehicles will go a little ahead and take a turn near Police Station to arrive at the bus stand.
Discussions were also held on solving the garbage problem by outsourcing, including outsourcing labourers, which could also help them get their wages and salaries on time.
In October 2022, a special Ponda Municipal Council ( PMC) meeting proposed to hike the house, and commercial taxes manifold to compensate for their revenue deficit of Rs three crore.
The move has upset Ponda locals and businessmen, who called the drastic hike unfair.
House tax was hiked from Rs 7 per sq. mt to Rs 15 per sq. mt, while the commercial tax was hiked to Rs 100 from Rs 20.
For new constructions, house tax was hiked from Rs 7 to Rs 50 per sq. mt and Rs 50 to Rs 206 per sq. mt for new commercial buildings.
The decision was justified by Council at that time, saying it struggled to compensate for the revenue deficit. Also, there was no tax hike for several years, and the hike was even lower than in Sakhlim and other Municipalities.
However, as the decision is deferred, the taxes would be charged at old rates, giving relief at the time of the PMC Election scheduled as soon as the existing council tenure ends on 20 May.