Ratepayers concerned

2008-04-03 00:00

THE Concerned Residents Group (CRG) of Howick is worried that confusion regarding property rates and proposed tariffs for the 2008/09 financial year will impact on elderly ratepayers when municipalities begin using their new valuation rolls, as many of them are still unaware of the implications of new tariffs and property rates.

The group has constantly opposed the uMngeni Municipality in budgeting for what they term “suicidal property rates increases” levied last year on the newly compiled property valuation roll of 1,5 cents in the rand. This culminated in a protest by over 3 000 irate, but peaceful, marchers, who handed over a petition to the municipal manager. Documentation was also sent to provincial and national government.

Local Government MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu told the group in February that their requests regarding rates are receiving attention.

The uMngeni Municipality’s draft budget presented to council last week has highlighted realistic estimates of expenditure, said Claude Edwards of the CRG.

This year, an increased rates randage of 1,062 cents (from one cent) will be charged on the market value of properties as stated in the valuation roll compiled in February last year.

Rates will be payable monthly in 11 equal instalments. The council will take legal action to recover arrears rates after three months, and penalty interest for late payments will be one percent a month.

“It is crucial that pensioners especially are aware of the changes in rates and tariffs so that they are not surprised when they open their bills. It is also important that they are aware of financial relief provided so they can apply for necessary discounts for pensioners on time,” Edwards said.

The uMngeni council announced that the first R60 OO0 will be exempted from rates on all residential properties, excluding vacant land, with another 30% rebate on all residential properties, excluding vacant land, and a sliding scale for a rates rebate for pensioners and disabled persons and sole owners of property.

Ratepayers can express their views in the public presentations to follow.

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