City mulls overhaul of regulatory process

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Pattaya officials are considering sweeping changes to the city’s structure and taxation laws in order to streamline governance and raise revenues.

Researchers from Thammasart University are aiding the city in reviewing its current administrative structure and regulatory process, with university and city officials reviewing progress at an April 12 public hearing.

Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome said the idea for the city review came from similar experiments in Koh Samui and Mae Sod, where an overhaul of law and regulation making resulted in increased economic and tourism development.

The Thammasart study is looking at three areas: the structure of the Pattaya City Council, the city bureaucracy responsible for such things as the environment, traffic and beach management; and tax and budget systems.

University President Somkid Lertpaithun noted that Pattaya had collected taxes and split tax revenue with the Chonburi Administrative Organization, but now sends all funds to the national government to reapportion. He said the study will look at returning to previous systems or developing new ways to collect taxes and raise revenues.

The city also faces challenges in promulgating and enforcing regulations related to beach vendors, coastal erosion and private-sector co-investment in city projects.

About 200 people attended the hearing, with many offering suggestions on ways to change the current system. One suggestion, from Deputy Mayor Wattana Chantanawaranon, would have a board of administrators take over some of the duties of the mayor’s office to manage the bureaucracy.

Further hearings will be held before the final report is prepared and considered.