Valuation roll: objection period extended

2014-05-06 00:00

THE Msunduzi Municipality has given in to pressure from ratepayers and extended the period to submit objections to the valuation roll — but only until Friday.

Mayor Chris Ndlela said yesterday they had noted that there were several public holidays within the objection period. “We also did this on the basis that we did not want to appear to be distant from our citizens; we wanted to be accommodating,” he said.

Ndlela said they could not grant a longer extension because the completed valuation roll was needed to produce the 2014/15 budget.

“We have checked the laws and we have been advised that as long as this does not impact on the approval of the budget on or before the 31st of May, we should be okay. I am calling on our citizens to take advantage of this window period as much as possible,” the mayor said.

Ndlela added that objections submitted after the April 29 deadline and those which had not been stamped — due to a lack of official stamps at municipal offices — would also be accepted.

Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business (PCB) CEO Melanie Veness expressed delight at news of the extended deadline.

“This will allow residents and business owners with excessively high valuations more time to object. As previously stated, many people have taken advantage of the numerous public holidays and have been away over the objection period,” she said.

Msunduzi Rates Forum (MRF) chairperson Babs Sithapersad said the announcement was an election ploy and not much of an extension. Nevertheless, he welcomed the reprieve of a few days and urged those unhappy with their valuations to object.

“We have come across some exceptional cases where valuations have gone up by 50% and more,” said Sithapersad. Despite the municipality’s assurances regarding objections that had not been stamped, he warned residents to get an acknowledgement that they had handed in an objection.

Ndlela said they were satisfied after an assessment of the objections already lodged and the municipality’s own assessment of the valuation roll, that it was a credible roll.

“We are very pleased with the quality of work our staff has done,” he said.

Msunduzi speaker Babu Baijoo said many of the past errors had been rectified. One example was Darjeeling Heights in the northern suburbs, which had been undervalued for the past seven years. This time around proper valuations had been applied to the houses in the area, he said.

Baijoo said that besides objecting to their own valuations, residents could also object to someone else’s low valuation in their neighbourhood. “Objections to low valuations will help us attain an equitable valuation roll,” he added.

Both the mayor and municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi stressed that this was not the end of the process and any glaring errors missed in this period could be rectified.

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