SRA not unlike Brexit

St Francis SRA not unlike Brexit

Watching Sky News and the ongoing Brexit saga it is in a way rather similar to the ongoing SRA vote. As with those voting to exit the European Union so that Britain can have control over its future rather than leaving it in the hands of Brussels so it is those in favour of the SRA want to wrest the future of St Francis away from Kouga municipality by voting YES. On the other hand those wanting to leave the future of St Francis in the hands of the municipality by voting NO is not dissimilar to those who voted against BREXIT thus leaving it to the EU to decide what is good for Britain. This was brought to the fore by Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the Scottish National Party in her  press statement yesterday that she would propose to again have a referendum for Scotland’s independence so that Scotland can remain in the EU.

Social media has been awash with posts by both those for the SRA and those against. Concerning is the number of anti SRA posts that show a total misunderstanding of what the SRA is proposing that seem more emotional than factual. That said there are however posts questioning certain aspects of the proposal that do need to be addressed and thus it really is important that civic leaders from both sides get together and properly address these issues of concern for the facts certainly point to the municipality not being able to deliver all that St Francis needs.

St Francis contributes some R37million to Kouga finances by way of property rates and as there is legislation that 60% of the municipal income must be spent on underprivileged townships this leaves at best, only some R14 million available and this is before even factoring in the actual municipal running expenses such as salaries et al.

It really doesn’t take rocket science to realise that additional funds are necessary to reverse the decaying infrastructure. At the State of the Municipality presentation a week or two back Exec Mayor Elza van Lingen brought up several interesting realities one of which was what the council was looking to achieve by way of road upgrades and this certainly doesn’t bode well for any money being spent on St Francis roads in the next year or more.

There appears to be a belief that the SRA is to be primarily for the canals, the spit, the river and the beaches and it seems these issues are understandably clouding the purpose of an SRA and where the money is to be spent.  SFPO does need to set the public’s minds at rest by better clarifying these aspects of the funding proposal and the article SFPO VOTE for the SRA more clearly illustrates where the funds are to be spent. .

SFPO have supplied St Francis Today which we were intending to publish today but owing to a few technical issues have decided to rather publish it tomorrow. The document lists answers to comments and questions posted on both SFT and on social media and we will publish these tomorrow as well as create a page where ongoing questions, comments and answers will be posted. .

SFPO Vote for the SRA Levy

The St Francis Property Owners proposal to ‘Save St Francis’ was presented at our AGM on 22 December 2016.

We have a choice:

  1. Do nothing and watch our property investments continue to devalue
  2. Pay the Municipality more in increased rates and watch 60% of it being diverted elsewhere
  3. Set up a Special Rating Area (SRA) and have the Municipality pay the SRA levy back to us to be used exclusively for St Francis.

The Municipality is legally obliged to collect the levy on our behalf and pay us the proceeds within 30 days (less an administration fee of some 3%) to St Francis Property Owners Not For profit Company (SFPO NPC). This company is already set up and handles the donations that we collected over the past year to Save St Francis. This same arrangement has existed for 10 years for the maintenance of the Canals by the St Francis Bay Riparian Home Owners Association.

There are many SRAs already set up in South Africa, and they have proven to be successful which is why we have proposed the SRA for St Francis.  The proposed levy is 50% of a property owner’s rates. If your property is valued at say R2 million then you will pay approximately R1,120 a month in rates. The SRA levy will be 50% of the R1,120 i.e. R560 per month.

SRA Levy Expenditure – Proposed

SRA Expenditure

Our priority projects are the arterial roads, and Phase 2A of the river/spit/beach project. Phase 2A involves (1) selecting the solution for de-silting the river, getting this sand onto the beach and holding it on the beach and (2) submitting the EIA to DEDEAT for authorisation. We expect Phase 2A to take 12-18 months before we can actually start on the restoration of river, spit and beach.

This levy will last for 10 years to restore and upgrade the infrastructure of this town after which the municipality will be responsible for maintaining it.  With your support the SRA levy will begin on 01 July 2017.

The SFPO Committee, the directors on the SFPO NPC and the members of our Technical committee are all volunteers, focussing on the survival and restoration of our town. We are acutely aware of the importance of the retired community to the well-being of St Francis. Most of our SFPO Committee members are retired as well. We are formulating a set of exemption criteria to ensure that those who cannot afford the levy will be exempted. We have asked for input from pensioners to assist with setting this criteria to make sure it is appropriate.

We ask all property owners to sign and submit a consent form either supporting (Yes vote) or opposing (No vote) the SRA levy.  If you have any questions please phone Jacky Green at the SFPO office in St Francis Bay at 042 294 0594. Please complete one Voting form per property.

Please complete one Consent form per property, and send it/them to the SFPO via one of the following methods:

  1. Scan the form and email it to Jacky Green at :
  2. Photograph it and SMS or WhatsApp it to 073 773 1867
  3. Drop it at the SFPO office located at the Alva Merle Estate Agents office at 115 St Francis Drive.

Document submitted by St Francis Property Owners