The Hope Town District Council met on February 23 to discuss the budget for the upcoming year 2017/2018, Real Property Tax issues and other business for the district.
The Council also finally received the final okay on replacing a resigned member of the board and began their meeting with a swearing in of a former member, Arthur Eldon of Man-O-War. The Council now stands at five members with one from Great Guana Cay, two from Man-O-War and two from Hope Town.
The Council held a closed session on Real Property Tax issues later announcing that they took an oath of secrecy as they begin collecting taxes from homeowners. Chief Councillor Jeremy Sweeting revealed that the council had already collected some taxes and noted that notices had already been delivered to 85 percent of Man-O-War’s eligible homeowners.
He said the Council will work hard to ensure the local Real Property Tax collection program is a success.
Speaking with several real estate agents attending the meeting Mr. Sweeting shared what they were doing with regards to the collection of Real Property Tax and recommended they encourage homeowners to pay through the local office as a portion would remain to benefit the community.
He said the Council wants to ensure that they do not come across as aggressive in collection of taxes, “but we still need to get the taxes collected.
Mr. Sweeting indicated that the Council is able to collect Real Property Tax from as far south as Lynyards and Bridges Cay and as far north as Baker’s Bay. “We can’t do it alone; we need your assistance,” he said.
The Council also spoke with the appointed Zoning Board of Hope Town to hear their recommendation regarding boatlifts in the historic Hope Town harbour area.
The Zoning Board suggested that a moratorium be placed on boatlifts in the harbour as it affects the aesthetics and quaint beauty of the area.
Council Member Don Cash said that the Council has looked at some low-profile boatlifts that would not obstruct the scenic view of the harbour. Council Member Donnie Carey added that they are considering making a resolution that would require a specific type of lift be used if permitted, but also added that it should still be reviewed on a case by case basis.
It was suggested that the Hope Town Council members meet with the Zoning Board to discuss regulating and controlling the permitting of boatlifts in the harbour.
The building directly next to the Post Office Dock in Hope Town harbour was recently purchased by Mr. Timmons who is seeking to add a second story to the structure. However, the Zoning Board said they will not support a second story extension, desiring that all harbour edge buildings be limited to one story. The Council declined the application for the proposed second story.