PEYIA council, under its new mayor, has vowed to claw back millions of euros in back taxes owed by local businesses and homeowners.
Marinos Lambrou, mayor of Peyia, said that he is taking a hard-line approach to get back around three million euros owed in taxes.
A number of local businesses, including hotels, owe large amounts including bed tax, water rates and refuse collection fees, many of them dating back a number of years.
“We have more or less reached a payment plan with the Crown Resort Hotel,” said Lambrou. “The other biggest problem I am having is with expats who have holiday homes here, it’s hard to track them down and they owe money.”
Lambrou said that the total overdue amount owed by those with holiday homes in Peyia that visit perhaps only once a year was ‘substantial’ and added that he was getting tough with all non-payers.
“I am issuing all of the people and businesses who owe taxes with letters inviting them to come and pay, if this doesn’t work I will take other measures which will bring results.”
Peyia councillor, Linda Leblanc said that measures could include cutting off water supply and in the cases of businesses, revoking licences such as those required for alcohol and swimming pools, in the event they don’t comply and meet their obligations.
Leblanc said that the new administration was trawling through a number of cases and had discovered huge amounts still owning.
“This has been an ongoing problem in Peyia for years and three million euros are owed in taxes, some date back ten years,” she said.
The oldest amounts owing pertain to licences for beach beds and jet skis with several hotels in the area also owe large amounts. In addition, around four hundred thousand euros is owed for building permits.
“We are serious about this, it is the key to financial stability for Peyia and there are improvements that need to be implemented,” she said. “It is crazy. People have been allowed to get away with this sort of behaviour for years, it’s not effective leadership.”
Leblanc said that in the past, payment plans have worked.
“Leptos agreed a payment plan for the Coral Beach Hotel a few years ago and paid hundreds of thousands of euros off in about a year and a half. Non-payment is unfair to the rest of the residents and businesses that do pay their taxes.”
The councillor said that residents have questioned that if debtors were not paying why should they. She previously proposed to the council that it should ‘name and shame’ those who had not paid as a strategy for tax collection.
She added that the problem was not confined to Peyia and that all of the municipalities had similar problems.