The SRA debate continues

Prior to our brief ‘holiday’ last week, St Francis Today was in the process of compiling a document covering many of the questions asked and answered in various posts and comments on our publication regarding the SRA. We are continuing with compiling this document  that we hope will answer most concerns. In addition to just simple Q&A’s we will also be seeking comment from organisations such as FOSTER who undoubtedly play a huge role in St Francis’ well-being as do the Kromme Enviro-Trust, St Francis Bay Canals Riparian’s, the Joint River Committee,the not  to be forgotten, Cape St Francis Civic  association and of course, the Kouga Municipality.

Obviously this will take time to compile but we hope it will assist in giving a clearer picture of the SRA from all sides of the village’s fast decaying road network.

In the interim St Francis Today received the following from reader Neil Brent a week or so ago but owing to our unexpected situation last week we did not publish it. Neil wrote us yesterday and asked us to please publish it. We do have concerns that some of the points raised have in fact been covered by answers from the St Francis Property Owners committee but be that as it may, here is Neil’s contribution to the ongoing debate

“We all would like to “make St Francis great again”, and hats off to the committee’s hard work and dedication to that goal,  – BUT-  we need to get our ducks in a row before voting.

Rod Suter’s letter – (ref. St Francis Today 20-01- 2017) – highlights valid concerns expressed by many residents regards the SRA proposal, and raises yet other questions that need answers before committing to a binding legal vote.

  • According to the Moneyweb report – 11-10-2013 – (link at foot of Suters letter – “special rating areas boost values and security”) – a majority of 66% is required to legally enforce a levy of this sort, not the 50+1 as put forward?!
  • Private” estates are totally reliant on St Francis infrastructure for access and services!!.

How can it even be suggested that those individual residents somehow be excluded from the liability of the levy that is to improve those same services!!

*Pensioners on dwindling fixed pensions, on application ( embarrassing anyway for them) will be assessed for relief of some sort.  – by WHOM?, on What Criteria? and WHEN? – before, or after, they are locked into a legally binding levy?   

  • If individual residents do not, or if they cannot pay the levy, now or in later years as inflation dictates, can their homes be legally attached and sold by the Municipality to recover the debt owing? The levy after all becomes another Municipal rate, does it not?
  • *Levies, once legally linked to Municipal rates could be liable to abuse, it seems.

Refer the sewerage levy, sold to residents originally as only +- R13.00 per month, now          in excess of R180.00 per month, on going, with many still not, and probably will never be connected. BUT we must all  pay up regardless – or else.

Alternatives, perhaps, to reduce the legal levy liability for residents?

  •  The SRA vision is for a R472 million project- at today’s prices!. Who knows what this will be in 10 years’ time – a billion perhaps?  
  •  How about dividing things into achievable bite size chunks, concentrating on the most essential initially, that will require a smaller hike in rates and be more acceptable to the general population?
  • Give the new DA council chance to get their budget in place, and to do what municipalities are supposed to do. Help out, yes, but try to avoid creating a duplicate Municipal structure.
  • Reduce the grossly overstaffed Municipal labour force by pruning out the unproductive deadwood that is costing us millions needlessly, – as any business would need to do.
  • Impose a suitable additional availability charge for water lights and services not used for +- 10 months of the year by +_90%   of the holiday homes to recoup portion of the shortfall.
  • Get signed voluntary commitments/levies for fixed amounts, for fixed periods, from those residents and businesses who feel they can comfortably afford the payments.
  • Pump Provincial and National departments of infrastructure, tourism, labour for assistance.

 Links can be found in Rod Suters letter..

Regards,   Neil Brent