$18m bill for legal fees
THE KSAC spent $18 million for legal fees last year but plans to employ a legal officer and establish a breaches committee that could cut these costs by 50 per cent, the finance committee learned last Thursday.
The money was spent for legal advice and court matters dealing with building breaches and encroachment on KSAC properties, Kingston mayor Angela Brown Burke told the Jamaica Observer.
She said that currently, a breaches committee that is a sub-committee of the Building and Town Planning Committee, tries to resolve building and planning breaches. However, the KSAC sometimes needs to obtain legal opinions on these breaches, hence the legal fees.
The mayor said that a decision was taken to appoint a formal Breaches Committee that would include professionals who can determine how serious the breaches were and what was to be done.
Where required more experienced legal expertise could be hired but "the legal officer could deal with less serious cases," the mayor said.
Another cost-cutting measure, according to city treasurer Naudia Crosskill, who presented the KSAC's preliminary 2014/2015 operational plan to the committee, is to reduce the dependence on paper.
To that end, she said each councillor would be given a tablet computer and minutes of the various committees would be sent electronically, thus eliminating or at least decreasing the need to print.
The tablets, she said, would be the property of the council.