Bi­tou in row over R2m owed by de­vel­oper since 2009

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - NEIL OELOFSE

PLET­TEN­BERG Bay Busi­ness Cham­ber chair­man Mike Scholtz has been asked to pay al­most R2 mil­lion his de­vel­op­ment com­pa­nies al­legedly owe Bi­tou mu­nic­i­pal­ity for ser­vices dat­ing back to 2009.

In a mem­o­ran­dum to Bi­tou chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer Deon Lott, the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s “rev­enue en­hance­ment of­fice” said Scholtz should be billed around R1,86m for ser­vices ren­dered.

Bi­tou claims that more than R1m of the bill is due for water, sew­er­age and elec­tric­ity aug­men­ta­tion fees charged for con­nect­ing the up­mar­ket Fish Ea­gle Bay town­house com­plex – de­vel­oped by Scholtz and a part­ner – to the mu­nic­i­pal sys­tems.

The rev­enue en­hance­ment of­fice said the fees should have been paid in 2009, when the 20unit de­vel­op­ment on the banks of the Keur­booms River was hooked up to the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s bulk ser­vices struc­tures.

A mu­nic­i­pal source, who asked to re­main anony­mous, said the aug­men­ta­tion charge ap­par­ently “some­how got lost” be­tween the tech­ni­cal ser­vices en­gi­neer­ing depart­ment and the depart­ment re­spon­si­ble for rev­enue col­lec­tion.

Bi­tou also says a num­ber of Fish Ea­gle Bay town­houses have been con­sum­ing water and elec­tric­ity and ben­e­fit­ing from sew­er­age and refuse re­moval ser­vices since July 2009 with­out pay­ing for them, so that the mu­nic­i­pal­ity is owed about an­other R680 000.

“Af­ter com­par­ing the ser­vices for this sec­tional scheme to the mu­nic­i­pal fi­nan­cial sys­tem it was found there is no body cor­po­rate ac­count in place,” the memo said.

Water and elec­tric­ity me­ters were in­stalled in the units by the de­vel­op­ers, but never reg­is­tered with the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

The Fish Ea­gle Bay hous­ing units were ini­tially put on the mar­ket at about R4m each, but a num­ber sold for about R3m, while al­most half re­main un­sold and still be­long to Scholtz and his part­ner.

Ac­cord­ing to the memo, mu­nic­i­pal of­fi­cials met Scholtz at the end of Novem­ber. “He could not con­firm who was re­spon­si­ble for the elec­tric­ity and water con­nec­tions for Fish Ea­gle Bay and whether an ap­pli­ca­tion was com­pleted or con­nec­tion fees paid. Mr Scholtz was in­formed that all the ser­vice fees will be charged to a new body cor­po­rate ac­count for Fish Ea­gle Bay…”

Bi­tou claims that a fur­ther R97 000 is owed since 2009 for mu­nic­i­pal ser­vices to an­other prop­erty owned by Scholtz, which in­cludes his res­i­dence, a restau­rant and four flats.

Although Scholtz did not re­spond to a mes­sage left by the Week­end Ar­gus invit­ing him to com­ment, he met mu­nic­i­pal of­fi­cials again this week, when he dis­puted the amounts owed. – Gar­den Route Me­dia

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