Mu­ni­ci­pal ta­riffs un­der spot­lig­ht

Mossel Bay Advertiser - - News - Nic­key le Roux

Ac­cor­ding to Sa­desh Ram­jat­han of the Lo­cal Go­vern­ment Bud­get A­na­ly­sis de­part­ment at Na­ti­o­nal T­re­a­su­ry, the ACDP re­pre­sen­ta­ti­ve in the Mos­sel Bay mu­ni­ci­pal coun­cil, Coun­cil­lor Je­a­net­te Gouws, was cor­rect in her un­der­stan­ding re­gar­ding the le­ga­li­ty of re­du­cing ta­riffs du­ring a fi­nan­ci­al y­e­ar. T­his fol­lows an ur­gent mo­ti­on broug­ht by Coun­cil­lor Gouws at a pre­vi­ous coun­cil meet­ing to ad­dress ra­tes, ta­riffs and chan­ges to sub­si­dies af­fecting pen­si­o­ners, who in­cre­a­singly find it dif­fi­cult to af­ford mu­ni­ci­pal ser­vi­ce char­ges.

The De­mo­cra­tic Al­li­an­ce ma­jo­ri­ty in coun­cil, af­ter a short cau­cus, re­fu­sed to al­low the ur­gent mo­ti­on. The exe­cu­ti­ve ma­yor, Al­der­man Har­ry Le­ven­dal, at the ti­me said that the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty had al­re­a­dy em­bar­ked on a Cost of Sup­ply stu­dy that would re­view the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty's ta­riff po­li­cy, in­clu­ding the in­di­gent po­li­cy and ta­riffs.

"The Cost of Sup­ply stu­dy would spe­ci­fi­cal­ly in­ves­ti­ga­te se­ver­al sce­na­ri­os be­fo­re gui­de­li­nes would be pro­po­sed.

"On­ce re­a­dy, a tho­rough pu­blic par­ti­ci­pa­ti­on pro­cess would fol­low and ad­jus­t­ments will be in li­ne with the fin­dings of the in­ves­ti­ga­ti­on.," Al­der­man Le­ven­dal said. Mos­sel Bay Mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty has de­ci­ded not to ad­just ta­riffs pri­or to the com­ple­ti­on of the full in­ves­ti­ga­ti­on and re­com­men­da­ti­on from its of­fi­ci­als.

"We in­tend to start the pu­blic par­ti­ci­pa­ti­on pro­ces­ses e­ar­ly in 2019 to test the prin­ci­ples on which we want to ba­se the re­com­men­da­ti­ons," mu­ni­ci­pal ma­na­ger Ad­vo­ca­te T­hys Gi­li­o­mee said.

Pen­si­o­ners' pre­di­ca­ment

Coun­cil­lor Gouws shared with coun­cil the pre­di­ca­ment pen­si­o­ners fa­ce, saying they we­re "re­si­dents who ma­ke up a hu­ge per­cen­ta­ge of the ac­count hol­ders of t­his mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty".

She said: "I ha­ve had do­zens of calls from dis­tres­sed and i­ra­te ac­count hol­ders who are dee­ply up­set by chan­ges to po­li­cies and ta­riffs be­cau­se of the im­pact t­his has had on their ac­counts," Coun­cil­lor Gouws said.

Ma­ny, but not all mu­ni­ci­pal ac­count hol­ders she had spo­ken to had been SASSA pen­si­on re­ci­pients and she said pen­si­o­ners li­te­ral­ly could not af­ford the new mu­ni­ci­pal ser­vi­ce char­ges.

"We all know the e­co­no­mic ci­r­cum­stan­ces in South A­fri­ca, but I feel we ha­ve a du­ty to ca­re in practi­cal ways for our pen­si­o­ners who ha­ve con­tri­bu­ted for y­e­ars to the gro­wth and de­ve­lop­ment of our coun­try." Ram­jat­han see­mingly con­cur­red with Coun­cil­lor Gouws, saying the Mu­ni­ci­pal Fi­nan­ce Ma­na­ge­ment Act - MFMA, through secti­on 28(2)

(a), al­lows mu­ni­ci­pal coun­cils to pass an ad­jus­t­ment bud­get to ad­just their re­ve­nue and ex­pen­di­tu­re es­ti­ma­tes do­wn­wards if t­he­re is a ma­te­ri­al un­der-col­lecti­on of re­ve­nue du­ring the cur­rent y­e­ar.

"You should al­so ta­ke no­te of the pro­vi­si­ons in chap­ter 2 part 4 of the Mu­ni­ci­pal Bud­get and Re­por­ting Re­gu­la­ti­ons which sets out the bro­a­der fra­me­work for mu­ni­ci­pal ad­jus­t­ment bud­gets, spe­ci­fi­cal­ly from a for­mat, ti­me­li­nes, sub­mis­si­on and ap­pro­val per­specti­ve.

"In our o­pi­ni­on, the ans­wer lies in the aut­ho­ri­ty of a mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty to im­po­se ta­riffs.

A new ta­riff may be set at any ti­me and the on­ly li­mi­ta­ti­on on chan­ging a ta­riff is in secti­on 28(6) of the MFMA which pro­hi­bits the in­cre­a­se of a ta­riff, i.e. set­ting a hig­her ta­riff, du­ring a fi­nan­ci­al y­e­ar.

"T­he­re­fo­re, from the le­gis­la­ti­on it is cle­ar that mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties can re­du­ce their ta­riffs in-y­e­ar pro­vi­ded it is do­ne con­sis­tent with the fra­me­work dis­cus­sed a­bo­ve."

Ram­jat­han said: "We trust that t­his will al­so be con­si­de­red, ta­king in­to ac­count the im­pact on the lo­cal e­co­nomy, de­ve­lop­ment and fi­nan­ci­al sus­tai­na­bi­li­ty of the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty and so forth."

Coun­cil­lor Gouws said she would a­gain ta­ble an ur­gent mo­ti­on in t­his re­gard.

‘The Cost of Sup­ply stu­dy would spe­ci­fi­cal­ly in­ves­ti­ga­te se­ver­al sce­na­ri­os be­fo­re gui­de­li­nes would be pro­po­sed.’

Die Mos­sel­baai Ont­span­nings­klub kui­er op 8 De­sem­ber al­mal weer saam in Pon­to Re­stau­rant en ge­niet 'n buf­fet­e­te uit die boon­ste rak­ke. Hier­die pro­jek dien as 'n fonds­in­sa­me­ling vir die aan­koop van ge­sken­ke en 'n Kers­par­ty­tjie. Die Mos­sel­baai Ont­span­nings­klub is 'n ge­re­gis­treer­de nie­wins­ge­wen­de or­ga­ni­sa­sie en be­staan reeds 35 jaar. Die klub be­plan ook 'n ses­dag­toer na P­re­to­ria in 2020. Be­lang­stel­len­des kan nou al be­spreek en af­be­taal. Ver­voer is met In­ter­ca­pe-bus­diens.

Vir e­ni­ge na­vrae en be­spre­kings, kon­tak Ed­ward Mey­er (078 286 6853), Je­an­hi­mia Hay­mes (072 832 6642), Gaynor P­re­toors (061 761 3670), John Plat­jies (073 133 2419) en Re­tjie Maart (021 937 7119 of 071 990 4916).

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