SBD$1.5 for unpaid water, electricity, rental bills
The Honiara City Council (HCC) has owed authorities more than SBD$1.5 million of unpaid bills for water, electricity, rental, land bills over the past 20 years.
This was revealed by Lord Mayor, Wilson Mamae in a recent Press Conference on Christmas Eve.
“It’s a huge debt of around $1.5 million and that we have to make installment payments as part of recovering the debts.”
Maemae further stated that most of the debt that occurred to this current executive is that of the previous HCC regimes.
“For example, even where this building is situated, it cost almost $100,000 and the previous governments have never paid any installment or paid it off since 1999,” he said.
He said the water bill almost reaches $400-$500 where they have to make installment payment all the time.
“At least we make schedule payments to help us recover those debts,” he said.
He said the idea was installment payments were made after consulting the City Clerk and those from the treasury.
He said 20 years after the Act of 1999, all the past Mayors who run the Council have never had a policy statements and its translation statement to guide them.
“With this current regime, it will be the first time ever for the HCC to have a policy statement and framework that we will work accordingly with to achieve our goals and objectives,” he said.
In addition to the mayor’s statement, City Clerk Rence Sore said other debts include renovation works done to the office which include the Chamber, the HCC Mayor’s office and others.
“These are all arranged by the former government without allocating them in the budget,” Sore said.
Sore also mentioned that they have to get funds elsewhere to easily pay for those renovation works as people continue to come in pursuing their outstanding payments.
Apart from the debts, the City Mayor also highlighted some of the improvements his government has achieved over the past six months since taking up the leadership task.
Maemae said after taking over from the leadership role after the election six months ago, his government without any option had to accept what the former government has left with and take on from there.
He said they have to work hard to overcome and fix a lot of mess left by the former government.
“During our six months tenure in office, we have inherited the HCC 2019 budget for the proceedings, administrations of the former City Mayor, inherited the outstanding depts. from the previous administration and inherited the mess from the previous HCC management,” he said.
Maemae said but against those draw backs, his government has achieved some better outcome just after their six months in office.
“Though with those draw backs, I am glad to say that we have preserved and made some milestone achievements such as developing the HCC Policy statement for the next four years, recruiting the City Clerk to lead the implementation of the policy, recruit the revenue advisor to enhance revenue collections, slowly but steadily reforming the HCC organisation programs, conducting snap operations at the Central Market and approved the HCC 2020 Budget,” he said.
Maemae said according to their vision, HCC is a modern government institution that is there to serve the needs of its people.
He said Honiara is acknowledged as a clean, safe, harmonious environment, responsible, prosperous, resilient and sustainable capital city.
“Our mission is to work in partnership to deliver high quality, sustainable and resilient services and prosperous Honiara city,” he said.
“Our values are accountability, working in a transparent and responsible manner, respect and embracing diversity, uniqueness, cultural differences and ideas,” he added.
Maemae said his government wants to lead with integrity across the entire leadership with honest, impartial, respectful and trustworthy manner, team work valuing the street and skills of each other, and also with innovation embracing technology and looking for opportunities to improve services delivery.