More fee increases coming

| 12/07/2010

(CNS): When the Legislative Assembly resumes this morning (Monday 12 July) the members will be deliberating amendments to the Planning Law in which the government has proposed increases to the infrastructure fees and to introduce a significant daily fine for those who do not maintain their property. Speaking in the LA on Friday as he presented the bill, the premier said he expected to be criticised but he believed that Cayman would see another development boom and when it came he wanted to ensure the country benefited from it. “I know these fee increases may seem heavy and I will be criticised for stifling development, but they are better than property and income tax,” McKeeva Bush said.

Bush said he had discussed them with the industry and the changes had been drawn up with the help of a locally appointed committee.  He added that he did not believe it was right that people used the country to make money but the government got “a pittance for it” when the country was giving up the environment to developers. He said he was in favour of people developing to help with Cayman’s standard of living but there had to be fees paid for things.
 
Bush brought the amendments to the House in his role as minister for development and planning. The considerable number of amendments to the law include a $5,000 per day fine for ordinary property owners that allow their properties to become derelict or unsightly, and $25,000 for those in hotel zones – a fee likely to directly impact the owner of the former Hyatt hotel which has been deserted since Hurricane Ivan in September 2004.
 
Proposed changes to the law include a reduction in the radius developers need to poll from 1500 feet to 1000 feet, and it removes the need for government to bring amendments to the planning regulations to the Legislative Assembly, placing the power directly in the hands of Cabinet. Bush said that many of the other changes merely legislated policy that was already been followed.
 
Some fee increases in zone A are almost double, moving the infrastructure fee from $2.50 per square foot to $4.50 for major developments. Although Zone C remains at 50 cents, most other categories are increasing and some properties are being re-zoned, such as the coastal property along South Sound, which will now become Zone A, while some areas of Bodden Town currently in A will move down to B.
 
However, the introduction of phased payment rather than at the point of application will offset the increases, Bush noted, making them easier for property owners and developers to bear as they can spread the cost. He also noted that the money raised would be used in part to properly fund the country’s affordable housing plans.
 
Bush pointed out that the planning law had been drawn up in the 1970s and was in desperate need of modernisation, and this was one of the issues he has campaigned on.
 
Check back to CNS this evening for more details on the law and the ensuing debate in the Legislative Assembly.
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Comments (32)

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  1. Halifax says:

    You folks are unbelievable!

    You don’t want TAX!  You don’t want a welfare state!  You condemn even payroll tax!

    So now you got hefty fees, fines, and duties with a government (whether PPM or UDP) that is not in for drastic cuts!!! 

    WHAT DID YOU EXPECT???

    Maybe if we had a "sustainable revenue" from the start that was fair and did not jeopordize our banking and tourism industries, we wouldn’t had need to tolerate these hikes.

    Can someone enlighten me different, because I am ready for correction if my view is wrong  

  2. Anonymous says:

    To Blog 15:02 have you not heard? he has retired, so you better bet that Mac will change the Law for it to be passed in his favour.  This man thinks he is an Island.

  3. Anonymous says:

     “I know these fee increases may seem heavy and I will be criticised for stifling development",

    hmm.. stifling development for whom? for poor Caymanians? must be.

  4. Anonymous says:

    This will not pass; it may sell a few newspaper, or get a few more unique hits – but this will not pass. I bought the world cup octupus, and he predicted it won’t pass.

  5. Anonymous9 says:

    Does this make anyone else cringe?

    "He added that he did not believe it was right that people used the country to make money but the government got “a pittance for it” when the country was giving up the environment to developers. He said he was in favour of people developing to help with Cayman’s standard of living but there had to be fees paid for things."

    He just needs help finding his words.

    • Pending says:

      XXXX

      Sell the island Mac, destroy the environment and then see where it gets you…..and his excuse will be the PPM did it.

       

  6. Anonymous says:

    I truly wish that before our Government (Mr. McKeeva Bush/ Premier) would talk about increasing fees that they (HE) would first try to tidy up the mess within the Civil Service.

    1. Whoever the managers were responsible for the persons that were NO LONGER working for Government and that were going to the government pumps and getting gas whenever they wanted with friends and family and boats and lawnmowers and whatever else it was that amounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars, that "manager" should have to pay that back somehow.

    2. Resolve the issue with all those that were placed on "required leave".

    I had never been more disgusted when it comes to this Government. When watching the news last week, hearing what the Deputy Governor had to say about the situation with those three women. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong but what I understood him to say was that basically they are not working because certain members of the Government did not wish to work with them?! It couldn’t possibly mean that those women did not wish to work with this Government by the context of his speech. He said that they were not fired because it would cost a lot more than to terminate their employment than to keep paying them. (Mind you that these women are making top  dollars). He also said that no one is more saddened by the situation than them. So tell me this; when since does not liking a fellow employee, allow that person to practically stay home and still get paid? Talk about selfishness. Say what you want about PPM but I truly believe that they would not stoop so low. We would not let them. And these people are the leaders that we have chosen, Cayman? I do not think that Mr. Donovan is that kind of person but we all know who is pulling the strings here. The same one that came on TV and COULD NOT, WOULD NOT honestly address the situation. But instead just pointed the finger and said that the DG is the one responsible for the civil service. This kind of BULL is unacceptable. I do not care who does not like who. Those persons have done nothing wrong and they know that they have no grounds to fire them, not only that, but they would probably be sued. Let us not forget Mr. Rudolph Dixon. Man went to court, had all charges cleared and they still wont allow him to come back to work. Mr. Lonnie Tibbets is still on leave, it was supposed to be a duration of a monthwhile ‘investigations are underway’ but I guess by the time anything comes of that it will be time for the next election. We have the judge Pryia Levers, not sure if she has regained her post but I’m sure that she is still being paid as well. I know Mr. Burmon Scott had charges cleared against him and he was probably talking about suing- which I doubt that he would ever had walked away with the figure the others got anyhow.

    3. The Syed fiasco- I admit that this was not during their time but the auditor general that was found out what had been going on, was terminated. Right there we had a good man that was working diligently to help our government but like they others, they did not wish to work with him any longer. Forget the reasons that they have told us. We know it’s not true.

    4. I could go on and on.

    All this and they are talking about raising more fees?

    And I still can’t get over the fact that we have a premier that is taking all these perks and really does not need in these hard times and I truly feel that he does not deserve it. But that is just my opinion. I just feel like we the people have to suffer for the mistakes as well as leisure of those that need it the least.

    This government and leader is all about self. Let’s get that straight. Anything that they do has some alternative, which is pretty sad.

    • Unturned Stone says:

      May I follow up on the Syed fiasco? Why on earth has he not been extradited? Is it because it would embarrass the high flying local incompetent board members? Lawyers, accountants etc? Come back Dan, all is forgiven.

      • Dan Duguay says:

        My undertstanding is that Cayman does not have an extradition treaty with Canada (where he was last known to be!)

        I agree that there should be a resolution to this case (even if there is not an extradition) While I was in Cayman, I pushed to have this case resolved with several of the Police Commissioners including CoP Baines. I think that it should be resolved as soon as possible.

        As you can see, I still keep a keen interest in Cayman affairs. My wife Susan and I are enjoying our retirement in Canada but still wish the best to everyone in the Cayman Islands

      • Anonymous says:

        Extradition would cost a lot of money, so it would be like throwing good money after bad. He is not going to return the money already spent, so we have nothing to gain.

        He might be found guilty at trial, but then we would just have to pay to feed and house him for whatever period he is incarcerated. On the other hand, he might be found not guilty and then we would have to find another job for him!

  7. Wally says:

     

    They just do not get it. Skating around the problem of big government will not work. Eventually the civil service size and expense will ruin Cayman, change will come but not until it is in ashes.
    Leaders get a grip on it, popular or not.
  8. Anonymous says:

    Until the politicians and the government can summon the courage to drastically cut the size of government the country and its citizen and residents will remain in peril.

    The civil servants as a voting block have scared off the politicians from cutting the size of government.

    The civil servants have convinced the public that off the government payroll that they are unemployable and the expence of the salary will simply be transfered to social services.

    Thar falsehood needs to be confronted by the government and the public.

  9. Marek says:

    The fine while excessive,is a good idea. I would suggest an amendment (a) After contacting the owner of said property at the legal address on file with the land registry office by registered mail, if said infractions remain unaddressed for a period of X days… then the government can at its own discretion have the said infractions brought within code and pass said costs on to land owner. Further, said costs may be placed as a lien against said property and if not paid within X time then the government shall have the right to seize said property.

    So there is a lot with rusted out cars, the government FIRST sends a notice before said fines take place. Your property X has this problem, you have 30 days to resolve this problem, if not then fines of X will apply and the government may enter upon your property to resolve said infraction adding costs of removal/repair/correction to the total amount due

    This is legislation WITH TEETH … because it solves the problem.

    Hopefully the legislation reads UP TO $5,000 and fines are scaled depending on infraction … otherwise the fines would be deemed excessive and struck down by the courts on appeal…. rendering them worthless.

    A fine of $5,000 for letting your grass grow 6′ tall, is excessive. Just cut the grass and send a bill for labour and a $200 fine… that should be enough to stop the problem from happening again.

    There should be exceptions for elderly or disabled persons who are not able to keep their properties and perhaps even a work-release program to let certain prisoners take care of those properties.

    Before you jump out of your skin about the fines, understand that this does not apply to 99% of our local residents and businesses, because they do maintain their properties.

    This is for the 1% who make the rest of us live with their garbage every day and frankly… they deserve a kick in the rear end.

    • Anonymous says:

      When certain people shoes that was not gotten fairly fit them, they dont realize what it is like to be wearing a tight shoe. There are many Caymanians and Cayman Bracers that have suffered finacially since the Ivan and the Paloma that cant even afford to pay a truck to remove junk much less complete their homes. Government will have to imprison a whole lot of us as we wont have that kind of money to pay. Any how prison is ok as the food is free. Better mind what unna is doing as the hurricane is right around the corner and it might catch the others that the Paloma and the Ivan did not catch, so you Christians making all these laws be careful. Remember what Massa use to say ‘GOD DONT SLEEP AND RE DONT LIE DOWN ON DRY LUMBER". BE CAREFUL FOR THE LOVE AND GREED OF MONEY.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Will this new law affect homes damaged in the Paloma that owners cannot afford to repair and is in unsightly conditions?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes of course it should affect any homes damaged in hurricanes. This is what insurance is for. Just because you were too tight to pay your premiums doesn’t mean that my neighbourhood (and the vaue of other properties in your street) should suffer because of your house looking like a wreck.

      Same way that if you are too tight to pay your medical insurance, I shouldn’t be responsible for paying your flights to Miami and hospital bills when you get sick.

      Every Caymanian that truly wanted a job could get one easily. Ignoring the BS of expats taking the jobs, any Caymanian that is willing and able would be fully employed always and therefore should be paying their insurance premiums. Any native not working for a period of time is doing so by choice and through pure laziness.

      • Anonymous says:

        Dont you know that some people can hardly afford to put food on their tables much less pay those high Insurance fees? Your shoes is fitting you properly so you dont understand. You are making a big fat salary and you dont care a dam about the poor.

      • Anonymous says:

        Maybe one of these nights you will go to sleep and have a bad nightmare about having paid your insurance premiums but suddenly your insurance company is bankrupt and unable to pay your claim. Something like the situation Government could have found themselves in with Cayman General Insurance after Ivan.

        Later on you might dream that your health insurance company tells you that your condition, or your childs, was prenatal and they will not be covering any of your medical bills.

        Needlessto say, your employer is unlikely to want to keep you on if you have a sick person that they are paying premiums for and that is taking all of your attention away from the job they pay you to do.

        It’s not the sort of thing one person might wish on another, but thinking about it might make you a bit more compassionate towards the less fortunate.

         

  11. Anonymous says:

    It would be interesting to see who has the right to waive these fees.  Government is quick to raise fees and even quicker to offer concessions to developers. Maybe the higher fees, the more "benefit" to the politician for getting them waived.

     

    Why is it that the Conservation law is under going public  input but this is being pushed through with little consultation even with the opposition party.  Is the opinion of the public only sought when it is in their benefit to do so?????

  12. Anonymous says:

    RIDICULOUS! More fee increases without addressing the real problem – Government spending – are an obscenity. The last round of fee increases were swallowed on the ambitiuous promise of balancing the budget, in one fiscal year, with a CI$5m surplus — which has NOT been achieved. In fact, we are facing a CI$55m deficit, nonetheless.

    The problem is not how much government can bleed out the private sector – government spending must be brought under control. McKeeva has steadfastly refused to address government spending, make any civil service cuts, or downsize where necessary. (And I do not want to hear anything about that "pittance" of a pay cut!) The petrol levy alone adds up to more cost to the taxpayer than that pathetic MLA paycut.

    This is absolutely ridiculous. Cayman is a service based industry. We were already expensive and these fee increases have pushed us into the stratosphere of costs.

    After business licensing fees, work permit costs, petrol, infrastructure fees, salaries and overhead – most businesses are in the red.  Businesses will quickly do a cost benefit analysis and either: relocate the entire business to another less costly jurisdiction (like BVI) or send more back office work to a less costly jurisdiction (most banks and companies send back-office work to Isle of Man and such places, where the work permit and salary costs for qualified LOCAL staff are considerably less than Cayman), to make a profit. Either option means less business, less business means less employment. 

    Government spending of US$600m for tiny place 100sq miles is simply untenable. And they cannot even manage that amount and are looking for even more.

    Mac has balls for everyone else – get a pair and cut YOUR government spending!

  13. Very anonymous says:

    

    Once again Bush is trying to find ways for someone else to pay for his over bloated civil service and incompetent and very expensive leadership.  The problem is not too little money going in its too much being spent on things like the premiers$1500 electricity bills first class flights and hotels, the turtle farm Government sponsored welfare money giveaway, Cayman airways government sponsored welfare money distributore, gas card give aways, and double dipping,Garden leaving,lazy,incompetent government workers.  This current system now cannot survive without someone else feeding it daily.  This is and will  be for some time Caymans "Legacy".

  14. Anonymous says:

    these fee increases may seem heavy and I will be criticised for stifling development, but they are better than property and income tax,” McKeeva Bush said.

    Perhaps, but Beloved Leader just does not seem to get that it would be far better to cut back on the bloated government expenditure so that costs match current revenue. Cut the luxury travel and all of the other perks instead of adding to the burden of the people!

     

  15. Lachlan MacTavish says:

     Knee jerk reaction. Many would disagree Mr. Bush. Yes, you may stifle development  and another "fine fee" that will be very hard or impossible to enforce and adds yet again to CIG red tape. Increasing duties and fees must stop. Decreasing the CIG and creating a constant sustainable property tax tied to the land registry will slowly pull Cayman out of the death spiral it is in.

  16. 911 HELP says:

    I am no fan of Mac but this is one time I can truly say I agree with this plan I know of a few places in George Town that I would like to turn in right now lets support this cause Cayman and get Cayman clean again.Oh how I wish  to be part of this commitee .I am a cleaning freak .

  17. Anonymous says:

    The Premier need to also look at the residnetial areas in Grand Cayman, where people live from day to day maintaining their home and yard, and up comes a foreigner and purchase the next property along side of yours.  Since hurricane Ivan many of these property owners have not returned to the country and these house are left distroyed.  A sore eye to the neighbourhood, and from that there are used by crack heads etc.  These same house should be included in this law, and if and when it does happen, the goverment should make use of  these houses and turned them into commuity centers and such like.

    It time the goverment take action and control these properties.  I agree with the Premeir’s stand. 

  18. Anonymous says:

    XXXXX There is not going to be another property boom in Cayman ever again.

    Whilst in the past it has been attractive to build properties because of the extortionate rents you could then charge to foreign workers. Now that so many have moved on to pastures greener there are hundreds or maybe thousands of empty unleased properties and landlords that cannot afford to pay the mortgages on them without a rental income. All the best locations have already been developed. Every inch of coast line is already overdeveloped, all the higher ground is fully populated and only the flood zones are empty, but nobody is going to build there.

    With continuing contraction of the jobs market and more companies relocating overseas this is going to get much much worse. Cayman is never again going to experience the times of massive foreign investment because it is just not attractive any more, especially with a bunch of half wits running the island and continually threatening more taxes and declaring the islands bankrupt in public to the media. This puts investors off even more.

     

     

    • Your One (brain cell) Solution says:

      If a tree falls in the forest but there’s no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?

      If the Cayman real estate market collapses but there’s no foreigners around to notice, did it make a "boom" as it crashed to the ground? 

      Oh, not that kind of boom… sorry.

       

  19. Twyla Vargas says:

    Thanks to the Government for considering to impose fines on people who do not maintain their properties. and expecting the first fines will be put on Government invironment department for the maintainance of Goverment properties.

    1.  Government property.  The Old Clinic in Bodden Town, filled with dirt mess rats and high bush and rats.

    2. Government property.  The building along side nurse Josie centre adjoining the Harry McCoys Park Bodden Town.  Being used by addicts, lovers, and kids.  Overgrown bushes and broken furniture.

    3.  Government Property,  half dug out water holding, swamp,pond, cistern.  Filled with stagnant water, causing mosquitoes, high grown bush and garbage.

    4.  Government Property.  Newly constucted cumber park.  Overgrown bush, no lights or electricity.  Park shed has no bench for children or adults to sit down on.  No toilet facilities, and  Kids using people surrounding properties.

    5.  Government property.  Side roads overgrown bush along Cumber avenue needs cleanng.

    Thank you kindly to ask someone to take care of the above needs, otherwise FINE THEM!!.

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t forget the half built schools.  Starting to looking pretty overgrown.

  20. UDPAreKillingUs! says:

    Planning Dept & shacks…..

    It would be best to clear up and regulate those "shanti-towns" or shacks that presently exist in Cayman – those that’s presently erected and used to house unskilled laborors and gain the "almighty dollar"

    Why aren’t you, UDP, looking at this??????????

    They cannot be healthy for either the person living is such awful conditions nor the appearance of the country!!  Why do you, UDP, allow such to be existing in this country???  Is it for the "almighty vote"??????

    Hypocrocy at d best!!!! 

  21. Plato says:

    Increasing fees in a recession is plain foolishness. It is time we got some serious economic leadership!! There is little planned development at the moment and real estate sales are a disaster just like our beloved leader.

    • Anonymous says:

      Government first need to set an example by repairing and upkeeping their their propertys, such as those by the Jose’s Esso gas Station on Crewe road.