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The City Council, during last Monday’s regular session, approved on first reading a proposed ordinance granting a fifty percent discount on sewerage fees being collected by the city government from business establishments for this year.
Under the proposed measure, the 50 percent discount on sewerage fees will be applied to all registered businesses operating in the city and that the discount shall only be acceptable for the year and may be availed of only by qualified taxpayers who are not in arrears in the payment of previous years of sewer fees.
The council pointed out that the full implementation of the pertinent provisions of Ordinance No. 18, series of 2016, otherwise known as the city’s Environment Code, particularly in the collection of sewerage fees, will bring additional burden to the taxpayers already suffering from the huge losses of income with a dim prospect for rebound because of the fragile status of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic that had significantly affected the global economy over the past 20 months.
The council added that it is the intent of the ordinance to grant relief to the taxpayers already suffering the physical and economic impact of the pandemic as there is yet no clear indication on the possible revival of the economy due to the unavoidable incidents that trigger surges in cases that result to the implementation of stringent restrictions on the movement of people.
The Environment Code provides that the sewerage fees to be collected for the maintenance and operations of the sewerage system in the city shall be in accordance with the schedule of rates per month as fixed.
Further, the prescribed fees shall be levied and collected from the owners and administrators or concessionaires of establishments, private residences, apartments, commercial buildings, among others, whose domestic waste or waste water effluence, the fees provided for in the Code had been computed per toilet bowl and per kitchen sink of the establishments or residences.
However, the body recognized that the year 2021 was and still is a challenging year to everyone, especially to the business sector, because the supposed gradual and safe recovery of the economy has been stalled by the recent surges in cases that resulted to the implementation of stringent restrictions on the movement of people derailing efforts towards economic recovery.
According to the council, the COVID-19 pandemic forced many establishments to streamline their operations, if not totally shut them down, due to mobility and travel restrictions, strict prohibitions on the movement of non-essential sectors and the regulated operations of non-essential businesses.
The council emphasized that the aforesaid challenges slowed down or halted the possible robust start of the economy not only locally but also globally as the business industry struggled to keep afloat, with its dwindling resources barely able to sustain the businesses and their families. By Dexter A. See