SOUTHBROOM NEWS - JULY 2007
A SOUTHBROOM RATEPAYERS, CONSERVANCY & COMMUNITY POLICING INITIATIVE.
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>> MEETING WITH THE HIBISCUS COAST MUNICIPALITY (HCM) REGARDING POSSIBLE CLOSURE OF SOUTHBROOM LIBRARY
The meeting held on 1 June 2007 was well attended by ratepayers and residents wishing to save the library.
HCM explained that whilst there were numerous libraries on the coastal strip, there was only one serving the inland area. The challenge was to provide library services to all communities and hence consideration was being given to rationalising services and closing those outlets that were in close enough proximity to others. Southbroom would be served by the Margate Library.
Ratepayers and residents put forward their concerns and offered possible solutions to save this valued service. The meeting accepted that the hinterland was in dire need of libraries but felt that HCM should provide these in addition to existing facilities. Furthermore, it was felt that the cost to Council was minimal when compared to the total municipal budget especially since Province provides the books and the vacated premises may well be surplus to Council's needs.
Southbroom Ratepayers requested that, prior to Council voting to close the Southbroom Library, it first give the community the opportunity to staff the facility on a volunteer basis. Under the old Southbroom Town Board, the library had operated successfully in this manner.
Councillor Cynthia Mqwebu thanked everyone for their input and gave the assurance that the meeting was purely consultative, perhaps the first of several, and that no decision had been taken to close the service at this stage.
>> PAY YOUR RATES ON TIME AND CLAIM YOUR REBATES
The new rating year started on 1 July and HCM rates have increased by 6.5%. Ratepayers are reminded that certain rebates still apply provided that rates and service charges are paid in full on or before 28 September 2007. The final date for payment of rates is Friday 30 November 2007, after which interest of 18% per annum will be added.
The rebates are as follows:
• 8% on the rates assessment (service charges excluded) on all developed properties
• 10% on the rates assessment of land zoned for Special Residential purposes and on which a single dwelling house has been erected, only if the registered owner thereof or his/her spouse has occupied the dwelling exclusively for residential purposes for at least 9 months of the year ending 31 December 2007. This rebate also applies when the property is registered in the name of a company or close corporation, provided that the occupier wholly owns the shares or member's interest.
• 10% on agricultural land.
In order to qualify for any rebate, the registered owner needs to furnish proof by way of filing an affidavit with Council. Ratepayers should contact the Rates Department on 039-312-8320 to obtain an official affidavit form and to confirm the rebate calculation. Furthermore, a
• 2.5% settlement discount is offered provided rates and service charges are paid on or before 15h00 on 28 September 2007.
Rebates will fall away once the new Municipal Property Rates Act (MPRA) comes into effect.
>> VALUATIONS IN TERMS OF THE MPRA COMMENCE THIS MONTH
On 1 July HCM will begin valuing all properties in the municipal area for rating purposes. The new Municipal Property Rates Act's objective is to provide uniformity, equity, transparency and simplicity.
Evaluators have been contracted to compile the new valuation roll and their data collectors will operate on Mondays to Saturdays, from 7.30am to 7pm. They will carry the relevant forms to be completed and, for identification purposes, will wear a blue cap and a blue bib bearing the words 'Data Collector' on the front and the HCM logo on the back. They will also carry official ID cards and a laminated letter of designation.
HCM has appealed to all home owners to allow data collectors access to their properties during the process.