Rates remain a thorny issue in Mangaung budget

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Sabrina Dean

Not everyone was in support of Mangaung Mayor Thabo Manyoni’s R6,19-billion budget last week, with most of the opposition party councillors voting against it. One of the major points of contention revolved around the new municipal valuation roll, which many residents and businesses are claiming is flawed due to extreme increases from past valuations.  The mayor admonished residents and one business owner in particular during his speech, saying their properties had previously been undervalued. He pointed out that businesses need to pay appropriate rates and taxes so that the metro is able to deliver better services.

However, DA Councillor David van Vuuren said the metro has jumped the gun because tariffs in the new budget are based on the new valuations, which haven’t been finalised yet because valuators have not yet reported on the objections raised by citizens.
“Suffice it to say that this new metro will not know the total rand value of this new valuation roll for months to come. Therefore the income reflected in the budget is in no way realistically anticipated,” Van Vuuren told council last week. The metro has divided its budget into a capital budget of  R866-million and an operating budget of R5,37-billion. “Revenue generated from rates and services charges forms a significant part of the revenue basket of the city,” Manyoni said.

He set out the following tariff increases: property rates up 5,9 percent; sanitation fees to increase by 5,9 percent; electricity tariffs up 5,3 percent; water tariffs rise by 8,8 percent; and general tariffs are to increase by 10 percent. Some of the highlights for the coming year include: R865,9-million for upgrading and installing service delivery infrastructure, nearly R60-million for sports facilities across the metro, just over R85-million over the next two years for reticulation services at the much punted airport development node and R107,6-million over the next three years for the relocation of the zoo.  Manyoni also reassured residents that the metro does not owe Eskom or Bloemwater.

sabrina@centralmediagroup.co.za