C­ri­ti­cism of ra­te ta­riffs in Bi­tou

Knysna-Plett Herald - - Crime -

T­he­re has been ma­jor c­ri­ti­cism fol­lo­wing the re­cent ra­tes and ta­riff in­cre­a­ses in Bi­tou – es­pe­ci­al­ly in com­pa­ri­son with that of neig­hbou­ring towns li­ke Knys­na – which could see P­let­ten­berg Bay re­si­dents paying up to R3 000 mo­re per y­e­ar for the sa­me ser­vi­ces.

One of the big­ge­st points of con­ten­ti­on is that of the pro­per­ty ra­tes which re­si­dents ha­ve com­plai­ned ha­ve mo­re than dou­bled in so­me ca­ses.

This despi­te Bi­tou de­cre­a­sing the pro­per­ty ra­tes by 11.9% for the next fi­nan­ci­al y­e­ar.

Bi­tou chief fi­nan­ci­al of­fi­cer Vin­cent Mk­he­fa said that this was do­ne due to the an­ti­ci­pa­ted increase in the pro­per­ty va­lu­a­ti­ons which we­re im­ple­men­ted in Ju­ly this y­e­ar. “The re­ducti­on in ra­tes is as a re­sult of the increase in pro­per­ty va­lu­es. The ra­tes for so­me pro­per­ties will ha­ve been very high due to the increase in pro­per­ty va­lue and al­so the increase in ra­tes,” Mk­he­fa said. BIG DIF­FE­REN­CE IN REFUSE AND SEWAGE TA­RIFFS

One of the most gla­ring dif­fe­ren­ces, w­hen com­pa­ring Bi­tou to Knys­na cos­ts, is that refuse and sewage ta­riffs dif­fer gre­at­ly. Look­ing at refuse re­mo­val on­ce per week, the an­nu­al char­ge co­mes to R2 936 for P­lett re­si­dents whi­le Knys­na re­si­dents on­ly fork out R1 090. In P­lett re­si­dents pay R5 360 per y­e­ar for sewage, for a sin­gle re­si­den­ti­al ho­me with three be­drooms or less, whi­le in Knys­na re­si­dents pay on­ly R978.

“The cost of pro­vi­ding the ser­vi­ce be­t­ween the two mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties is not the sa­me. Bi­tou is in­cur­ring mo­re cost re­la­ting to trans­por­ta­ti­on of the refuse to Mos­sel Bay than Knys­na due to ob­vi­ous re­a­sons of dis­tan­ce. It is im­por­tant to no­te that w­hen a mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty de­ter­mi­nes ra­tes es­pe­ci­al­ly for tra­ding ser­vi­ces as wa­ter, e­lec­tri­ci­ty, refuse and sewage, the in­ten­ti­on is to bre­ak e­ven or ge­ne­ra­te suf­fi­cient cash to fi­nan­ce ot­her non­con­sump­ti­on-ba­sed ta­riffs li­ke s­treet swee­ping and parks main­te­nan­ce. The cost of was­te dis­po­sal will con­ti­nue to grow, es­pe­ci­al­ly due to trans­por­ting of was­te to ex­ter­nal was­te si­tes,” said Mk­he­fa. E­LEC­TRI­CI­TY CHARGES DIF­FER IN P­LETT AND KNYS­NA

So­me re­si­dents no­ti­ced that the ba­sic char­ge for e­lec­tri­ci­ty in both towns ap­pea­red to be ba­sed on a dif­fe­rent phi­losop­hy. In P­lett re­si­dents pay a high ba­sic char­ge for e­lec­tri­ci­ty, whi­le Knys­na does not. Re­si­dents poin­ted out that P­lett con­su­mers could the­re­fo­re not con­t­rol their cos­ts in a sig­ni­fi­cant way by con­trol­ling their con­sump­ti­on, w­he­re­as Knys­na’s e­lec­tri­ci­ty ta­riff struc­tu­re left the con­su­mer mo­re in con­t­rol.

In re­spon­se Mk­he­fa said, “The ba­sic char­ge is not me­ant to be u­sed as a met­hod of re­du­cing con­sump­ti­on. The ba­sic char­ge is me­ant to as­sist in in­fra­struc­tu­re im­pro­vement and re­ne­wal. Bi­tou has been enga­ged in va­ri­ous pro­jects o­ver the y­e­ars to im­pro­ve and pro­per­ly main­tain its e­lec­tri­ci­ty in­fra­struc­tu­re. The main­te­nan­ce plan of both mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties is not the sa­me the­re­fo­re the fun­ding can­not be the sa­me. As men­ti­o­ned the ta­riffs are in­flu­en­ced by the needs of the com­mu­ni­ty mo­re than by com­pa­ri­son to a­not­her mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty.”

A si­mi­lar is­sue was rai­sed a­bout the wa­ter ta­riff struc­tu­re. In Knys­na t­he­re is a low ba­sic char­ge with on­ly 3kl free w­he­re­as in P­lett t­he­re is a high ba­sic ta­riff and 25kl free.

“It is im­por­tant to no­te that the ta­riff com­pi­la­ti­on pro­cess does not on­ly ac­com­mo­da­te con­ser­va­ti­on ob­jecti­ve but rat­her cost re­co­ve­ry,” Mk­he­fa said.

“The ta­riffs for Bi­tou will ne­ver be the sa­me as Knys­na’s main­ly be­cau­se of cost both mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties in­cur in pro­du­cing a ki­lo­lit­re. The mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty is com­for­ta­ble a­bout the cur­rent ra­tes as com­pa­red to cost and the block es­ca­la­ting ta­riffs are me­ant to pe­na­li­se high wa­ter u­sers.

“The pro­fi­le of our cu­s­to­mer ba­se al­so has an im­pact in terms of the ba­sic char­ge and the 25kl free wa­ter. The mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty in­curs high de­mand for wa­ter in peak ho­li­day se­a­son but re­qui­res the main­te­nan­ce of the in­fra­struc­tu­re throug­hout the y­e­ar. The­re­fo­re the ba­sic char­ge is me­ant to af­ford the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty to main­tain the in­fra­struc­tu­re du­ring the low se­a­son,” he said.

W­hen com­pa­ring all charges in­clu­ding wa­ter at 40kl per month and e­lec­tri­ci­ty at 500kWh per month P­lett re­si­dents can ex­pect to pay R27 043 per y­e­ar whi­le Knys­na re­si­dents pay R23 660 for the sa­me ser­vi­ces.

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