Government will host a town hall meeting on Thursday to gauge public feedback on what the future of the Corporation of St George will look like.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Home Affairs said topics include “the most appropriate way to strengthen and modernise municipal governance for the benefit of Bermuda”.

The public meeting is a follow up on the Municipalities Amendment Act, tabled by the Minister, Walton Brown in March.

The new Bill deferred the next municipal elections to 2019,  and proposed that public officers be allowed to attend corporation meetings and “give directions and take stewardship or temporary control of a corporation in certain circumstances believed to be in the best interests of Bermuda”.

“Last month’s Bill essentially deferred ordinary municipal elections for a year until May 2019 while we undertake consultations with the Corporation of Hamilton and St George, and the residents and ratepayers in each municipality, which is what we are doing now,” said Minister Brown.

He also reiterated that there are inconsistencies in how each corporation is structured. Essentially, he said one corporation focused on business, while the other focused on residential business.

“One has a fairly healthy revenue stream, one is reliant on the largesse of Government. Both, however, have issues with failing infrastructure.

“Both are looking for ways to stimulate their economies in order to raise more revenue.”

Unlike Bermuda, he said municipalities abroad provide social services in their communities, including housing.

“Municipalities in Bermuda do not deliver social services and the need for social services within the municipalities is growing.

“The Government believes that the two levels of Government, national and municipal, can no longer operate in economic or decision-making silos,” he added.

Future meetings, as part of the six-month public consultation process, will focus on the Corporation of Hamilton.

A public policy document will be available for review and feedback, before a decision is made on the way forward for the best municipal governance model that fits Bermuda’s needs today and beyond.

“I would encourage residents with ideas, questions or concerns to attend this town hall meeting on Thursday and help us select the ideal structure of these two institutions,” said the Minister.

“We are particularly interested in those who are service users in St George’s. We must have proper input before making a decision.”

The meeting will be held at Penno’s Wharf in St George’s from 6pm, on Thursday, May 3.

Members of the public can also provide feedback by emailing corporationreform@gov.bm

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