Newsletter 1

Kleinemonde Newsletter May 2016

Already 5 months into the new (old) year.

Someone once said: Yes, its true time flies – but I am not sure who the pilot is !

Municipal budget . . . . . . Pay back the money!!

news1You were advised about the draft 2016/2017 Municipal budget and the proposed increases.

The Ndlambe Ratepayer’s Forum (NRF), whose membership is the chairpersons of the different ratepayer’s associations in Ndlambe, submitted a document on the draft budget which was discussed in a meeting with Municipal officials.

For more detail see “NRF Submission_Draft budget” here!.

As part of the public participation process on the draft budget, a meeting was also held at Kleinemonde on Monday 9th . As usual the meeting was well attended by Kleinemonders.

Some of the issues raised were:

Rates increase

At the meeting we were informed that the biggest reasons for the proposed 17% increase were due to the Auditor General’s instruction that municipalities were to establish the following units:

Performance Management, Public participation, and Disaster Management. At this stage Ndlambe will not implement these units and can, therefore, achieve a reduction in the proposed 17% .

We were also told that the current 18% rebate (20% in 2014) on residential rates which we all receive will be reduced by 2% to 16%. Thus, if the rates increase by 17%, we will effectively be paying 19%.

The meeting requested that the rates increase should be a total of 10% – which includes the 2% reduction in rebate.

Water tariff (proposed 16% increase)

Reasons for this increase were given but we insisted that a rebate should be given in those areas, like Kleinemonde, where the water quality (chemical content) does not conform to SANS 241 standard on water quality. However, the Jury is still out on this request.

Refuse

We were informed that the refuse site is now a licensed transfer site.

In our newsletter dated May 2012 we did warn that it was on the cards to happen at some stage. Due to the proximity of our refuse site to the residential area, our site could never be licensed as a landfill site where all types of refuse can be deposited. Being only a transfer site implies that only household refuse can be deposited into the skips at the site, from where it will be transported to the Port Alfred landfill site.

Household refuse, and a maximum of two black bags of garden refuse, will still be collected by the Municipality as usual.

By implication all building rubble, garden refuse (that cannot be placed in two plastic bags), scrap metal, etc. will be the owner’s responsibility to transfer to the Port Alfred landfill site.

The committee will be investigating the possibility of purchasing and placing a chipper at the refuse site. Garden refuse can then be chipped at a fee to cover the operating cost. The chips could also be bagged and sold. At this stage we do not have the cost of a chipper suitable for our purpose, but it could be in the region of R60 000. We will appreciate your view on this !

In the meantime the site is in the process of being cleared of the huge amount of accumulated garden refuse and is being transported to Port Alfred.

Rebates

A percentage rebate on residential property rates, introduced a number of years ago, is given to everyone irrespective of your income or value of your house. This particular rebate is not prescribed in any of the Municipal Acts, and is costing the Municipality approximately R6 m (income foregone), which they cannot afford.

As mentioned above, originally this rebate was 20%. Last year it was reduced to 18% and the proposal is to reduce it to 16% for the 2016/2017 financial year.
Obviously the biggest beneficiaries of the rebate are those with high value properties.

Apart from this rebate there is also a rebate for those with an income below a certain amount and whose value of their property is less than R1.1 m.

This rebate is necessary to assist pensioners/widowers who, for years, having been living on a fixed income or a pension that has not kept track of the inflation rate.
Our feeling is that the first rebate, one we all receive, should be phased out but at the same time the rebates based on income and value of property should be adjusted.

Value for money

The question is always asked: What do we get for the money we pay by way of property rates.

A few years ago we raised this with the Municipality and this year again, via the NRF, bearing our deteriorating infrastructure in mind, proposed that every year 20% of the rates income from the individual towns (making up Ndlambe) must be spent in that town.

To ensure that such funds are correctly utilized, the individual Ratepayer’s Associations would submit a budget on how the money will be spent, for approval. At this stage in our discussion with the Municipality it is more about the principle than the actual percentage. There is understanding from Officials for this suggestion, but there is still a lot of arm wrestling to be done to have it implemented – if at all.

Despite the outcome of the above suggestion, the committee will keep on striving to get things done in Kleinemonde. We were fortunate that over the last 3 years approximately R4m was spend in Kleinemonde on various projects – after many years of pushing and prodding! Issued by the Kleinemonde Residents & Ratepayers Association