Objectors over rates still waiting

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From July 1 thousands of Durban ratepayers, who lodged objections to their increased property valuations, could be faced with exorbitant rates bills as the eThekwini municipality has not dealt with most objections.

Some homeowners say they have had no communication from the municipality after lodging their objections earlier this year.

One disgruntled ratepayer, Bernie Carr, said he had had no acknowledgement from the city that his objection lodged on March 26 had been received.

“The last time it took three years for the process to be finalised,” he said.

Carr’s property was half of what was once a semi-detached house now zoned for business in Umbilo.

He was among the people who objected to the first valuations, which were carried out in 2007. He said his valuation was too high and, because it had taken the province years to set up the appeals board and to deal with objections, he had had to deal with threats of disconnection of services when he initially refused to pay the inflated rates.

In April the municipality said it had received at least 10 500 objections.

Isipingo Ratepayers’ Association chairman, Darmanand Nowbuth, said the objection process could take between five and six months before being finalised. Nowbuth urged the council to expedite the process of dealing with the objections, saying that ratepayers were battling and could not afford any more exorbitant increases.

“At this stage, we don’t know how long it will take for the council to resolve the issue. But I would advise ratepayers to continue paying what they can afford. If there are any concessions, the council should backpay residents when the objections have been dealt with,” he said.

Municipal real estate head Keith Matthias said the municipality had captured into its roll management system all objections received and posted an acknowledgement of receipt to all objectors.

“Objections are being reviewed on a geographic basis to facilitate consistency of outcome,” he said.

Matthias added that objections to the 12th supplementary roll of general valuation 2008 and first supplementary roll of general valuation 2012 would close on June 30.

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