City’s Rates Policy Review encourages investment in property
Johannesburg property owners can breathe a sigh of relief as the City’s annual property rates policy review consultations with residents begins on Saturday, 24 January 2015.
The City reviews its Rates Policy on an annual basis to determine categories of properties to be rated according to a proposed tariff. This is to ensure that residents`’ views are heard and that the tariffs are equitable and affordable. The due date for comments and inputs for submission is 29th February 2015.
“The public consultation process takes place in terms of a two-step process. During the first round of public consultation (January and February 2015) residents and ratepayers are informed about the existing rates and feedback and comments are invited. This will lead to a second round of public consultation in April and May during which the new proposals, with the feedback incorporated, will be presented and finalised,” says Kgamanyane Maphologela, Director Customer Communications and Stakeholder Management.
The City’s 2015/2016 Rates Policy Review is set to prioritise the current economic conditions of the property owners and encourage investment in the property market.
The review takes place when the global economic growth is sluggish and the value of the rand having dropped in recent months. The cost of basket of goods and services has increased despite the fact that we have enjoyed the decrease in petrol prices.
“The City is mindful of property owners who are struggling financially. The disposable income for the property owners is under pressure. There is growing percentage of property owners that are getting rates rebates and reductions,” says Maphologela.
The City offers social relief and creating safety net for particular vulnerable groups – such groups include the poorest of the poor, pensioners, and disabled persons. Ratepayers falling within this category are normally encouraged to apply for a range of subsidies on rates or rebates on electricity, water, and others. This includes pensioners rebates and expanded social packages upon application.
Maphologela said there are more requests for rebates and reduction from property categories that previously did not request for the rebates.
Some of the bold steps the City has proposed amendments in the policy in order to encourage investment and affordability that include:
• Reduction of business ratio from 3.0 to 2.8 for business category of customers with the aim of reducing the cost of doing business in Johannesburg.
• Sectional title residential rebate has been reduced from 15% to 10%.
• Threshold rebate for residential property has been retained at R200 000. This means the City will not levy a rate on the first part of the value up to R200 000 of the market value of the residential properties.
• Zero rating on all municipal owned properties.
• Increase of income notch for pensioner who qualifies for pensioner rebates.
• New building Incentives - The rebate will apply to all new building developments that will take place within the identified Corridors of Freedom route in line with the City’s Growth and Development Strategy 2040.
The rebate will be applied as follows:
o The property owner will pay a quarter of the rate as per the category of land for a period not exceeding two years during the construction phase;
o The property owner will pay half the rate on the first year of operation as per the category of land;
o The property owner will pay full rates as per the category of property from the second year of operation onwards.
The City will be implementing a penalty tariff to enforce the Building control by-laws. This is introduced to stop illegal use of properties. The illegal use tariff will be four times the current residential rate.
The Rates Policy is an important process through which the City encourages the maximum public participation in the determination of its rates and taxes for the next year. Ratepayers are invited to get involved and have their say during the series of meetings which are open to all members of the public.
Residents and ratepayers are requested to visit: www.joburg.org.za. The current Rates Policy is available and a schedule of prospective public meetings to be held. All written comments can be emailed to: RatesComment@joburg.org.za
Kgamanyane Stan Maphologela
Spokesperson: Group Finance Department
Phone: 011 358 3420
Fax: 011 358 3639
Interview scheduling, media queries and documentation:
Nkosana Prince Lekotjolo Nondyebo Mfaba
Cell: 0824679429 Cell: 0760602712
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