Residents of KwaDukuza who objected to their new property assessments are frustrated that the municipality has charged them higher rates.
Four months after the new General Assessment Roll (GVR) was released and many residents filed objections, they have not had a response from KDM and are unsure whether they should pay the higher rates .
The GVR released by KDM on March 5 saw many businesses and homeowners face steep price hikes over the next four years.
âThe rates for our house in Ballito have almost doubled as a result of this new assessment. I submitted my objection on April 9, but I have not yet received a response, âsaid Jenny Crisp, a resident of Ballito.
KDM said residents who filed objections can arrange to continue at the lower rate until a decision is made.
âThe Council is not insensitive if a taxpayer wishes to pay a lower amount owed until the outcome of the objection is finalized. Appropriate arrangements should be made within our credit control department in this regard, âsaid KDM spokesperson Sipho Mkhize.
However, taxpayers do so at their own risk and will be responsible for the increase in rates as well as interest charges if their objection is not accepted.
But if an objection is accepted, taxpayers can request a refund for excess tariffs paid, or they can choose to use the refund to offset tariff billing in subsequent months, he said.
Mkhize also confirmed that unlike the relief measures offered by eThekwini Metro for residents and businesses affected by the July unrest, KDM will not offer the same.
âThe metropolitan municipality of eThekwini is the only one in the province to have done so – given its resource base,â he said.
However, KDM announced last week a debt relief program granting an amnesty period to service and connection fee debtors.
KDM’s chief financial officer, Shamir Rajcoomar, told the board last week that he had received 1,604 objections and was trying to deal with them as quickly as possible, the July unrest as well as key staff at KDM. Covid-19 contractor assessment had delayed the process.
âAs it stands, objections are handled in groups. Those who oppose will be informed individually of the results, âhe said.
Mkhize said the first batch of 500 finalized objections will be reflected in the September statements. Residents are also allowed to object to the outcome of the original objection.
“If the taxpayers are not satisfied with the result of the opposition, their attention is drawn to article 53 of the Law on municipal land tariffs which allows an opponent 30 days from the date of the notice of result opposition to request in writing the municipal manager to provide reasons for the decision of the municipal expert. The appeal form and the prescribed fees can be requested from the tariffs department.
Following an outcry from a number of their constituents, some neighborhood councilors raised questions about the validity of the assessments.
âHow authentic is this assessment roll? Isn’t that one of the requirements that a physical inspection must be performed on these properties? Ward 23 councilor John Phahla asked.
Rajcoomar said the properties are appraised through a combination of deed reports, schematic maps, GIS mapping, sales data, construction plans and, in some cases, physical inspections.
âWe have to recognize that in a project of this nature there will be gaps. The GVR process is protected by the fact that it is public and anyone can object to assessments.
What determined the valuation was the earning potential of the property, not the cost of constructing a building on it.
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