Development funds set aside for the first time in MPAJ budget

FOR the first time since the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ) was established, an allocation for development has been included in the almost RM113mil council budget for 2011 which sees an increase of RM10mil from this year.

Though it is only a small figure at RM200,000 and represents less than 1% of the entire budget, it marks an achievement of sorts.

The allocation will be used to upgrade the somewhat rundown Ampang Municipal Park located in Jalan Pandan Utama, Pandan Indah.

Among the proposed improvements are upgrading the playground, repainting and fixing the existing stage, improving the drainage system and building a toilet and maybe a surau and changing room because many residents come to the place to exercise.

However, most of next year’s budget of RM80mil or 71%, will go to our core services, including maintenance and cleaning work.

The next biggest allocation of RM23mil or 20% goes to emoluments or staff salaries while RM4mil will go to buying assets and pension fund.

Assets means equipment, including playground equipment which will be used to replace those that are old or in bad shape and may be two more enforcement vehicles.

Ampang does not have many industrial or commercial centres or even places to hold large events which are vital in creating high income and there is also not much land left for development of such.

Thus the budget is created based on our estimated collection for next year which will come mostly from assessment tax.

Usually we are only able to collect between 80% and 85% taxes owed and only achieved the targeted 90% collection once in 2007 due to aggressive enforcement efforts.

Those who do not pay their taxes comprise both individuals and companies and we have a special unit to tackle errant tax payers.

Among the efforts used by this unit are sending notices and demand letters though the council which have been conducting special operations since 2007 by going from door-to-door to ask for tax payment though this has limited results because we cannot force people to pay.

The next step we take is confiscation of any auctionable items on the premises of the property that has tax arrears and according to law, it does not matter whose item it is, tenant, landlord or even an unsuspecting new owner.

This is why it is important to notify MPAJ about change of property ownership though it must be stressed that the buyer also takes on any liability that comes with the property which is why a new owner should ensure all utility bills and taxes owed are settled before the property changes hands.

Currently the budget is awaiting approval from the state government and gazetting which we expect to be done by early January.

The public can view the budget at the MPAJ website or refer to the residents’ committee in their area for more information about any project, upgrades or maintenance work.

In the displayed budget, we do not include too much details as we do not want anyone to politicise it but the public are free to contact the council for more information.

The comprehensive budget is not particularly detailed as well and usually those who want more information will be referred to the relevant departments.

Finally, MPAJ has displayed integrity in budgeting as we have been awarded the Clean Certificate from the National Audit Department six years in a row.

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