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By Zena HenryMayor of Georgetown Hamilton Green said at a press briefing yesterday that City Hall will remain lit as parties from the Guyana Power and Light Inc. (GPL) and the Georgetown Municipality were able to reach a resolution over an excessive $1B light bill owed for electricity.City Mayor Hamilton GreenThe parties had decided to meet on Wednesday to discuss the colossal sum owed by City Hall. The Council wanted to ascertain whether the huge bill was the actual amount owed to GPL, while the power company threatened to disconnect City Hall because no discourse was being kept as it related to payment of outstanding bills.Mayor Green told the media that the entities agreed to have an exchange of cheques and to re-examine the financial state of accounts given by GPL. The chairman of the Council’s Finance Committee agreed to send a draft to GPL to confirm the result of what was discussed at the meeting, Green said. He continued that taxes owed to the Council by GPL would be taken as payments for electricity.Chief Executive Officer of GPL, Bharat Dindyal, told Kaieteur News on Wednesday that GPL and City Hall have come to an understanding on the way forward with bill payments. He said both sides stated their cases, and agreements were made, noting that it was explained to the Council how the billion-dollar bill arose; that is, of the 58 Council accounts, while a payment plan was looked at.He added that the Council had been paying $7M a month which is half of the Council’s monthly electricity bill. The two entities will also continue a cheque exchange system,China Jerseys Cheap, where for taxes owed to the Council, it would be deducted as electricity payments, Dindyal asserted.The CEO also clarified that while it was mentioned that GPL owed the Council taxes,NCAA Basketball Jerseys, it was shown to Council officials – at the meeting – that tax payments were up-to-date,Cheap Jerseys From China, with the power company only owing for the year 2013 – some $35M, which would go towards electricity payments.Mayor Green confirmed this at yesterday’s press conference.Dindyal said it is now with the Council to finalise its position on what was discussed and to get back to the power company. Another meeting of the two entities is expected next Friday.As it relates the colossal electricity bill that had Council officials scampering for a resolution before a blackout by weekend, GPL said the Town Clerk (ag) was not in talks with the company.Councilors had expressed surprise on Monday when the electricity bill came, since Deputy Mayor Patricia Chase- Green said that on numerous occasions the Town Clerk (ag) Carol Sooba, expressed that,Wholesale Authentic NFL Jerseys, ‘she was dealing with the matter at another level,’ when asked for an update on GPL payments.A response on the issue from the power company revealed that this was not the case. Dindyal told Kaieteur News yesterday that he was not aware of the current Town Clerk contacting the power company as it pertains to keeping correspondence over the Council’s outstanding electricity bills. He said that the Town Clerk was present at Wednesday’s meeting, but made no representation that she had been corresponding with the company. He said any ‘talks had to be outside of GPL, but not with the company.” Mayor Green made the same assertion.The Council said that under former Town Clerk Yonette Pluck,Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale, correspondence was being kept with GPL since it was “stale news” that the Council would be in arrears of electricity payments to the power company.It was emphasised that constant discourse was being kept and agreements would be made between the power company and the Council to address outstanding bill payments. It was pointed out that with the current Town Clerk, the only information offered was that outstanding bills were being dealt with at another level.Dindyal told Kaieteur News that in light of what was discussed at Wednesday’s meeting and the financial state of City Hall, it seems like the Council will never be able to pay off its debt.As at April 30, this year, City Hall owes GPL some $1,090,572,575. The Council says it is broke and is being stifled. Among the City Hall’s responsibilities are street lights, one of the major contributors to the hefty electricity bill – some 86.8 percent Mayor Green indicated. It was further noted that the Council is unable to collect much of the money that is owed – some of it in rates and taxes, the environmental tax that was implemented by government on behalf of the Council, and fees from the Municipal Court among other things.The Mayor noted however that GPL agreed that this situation is one where the input of Central Government is necessary. Green said he has dispatched a letter to the Local Government Minister on the matter, and feels that tripartite discussions are the way to go if the Council is to function for the benefit of the city.
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