··· About Rates
Once a draft valuation roll is in place, property owners are notified through the post office individually and the print media to come and view it free of charge as well as raise objections against a number of things like the area of the land, the zoning of the land, the monetary values attached to the property etc. The full list of these objections is then presented to the valuation which sits to hear and determine the appropriateness of what the arguments for and against the issue put before it.
The valuation court then certifies the document for use by Council to use as a basis for raising rates bills (invoices). At this point the valuation roll is law and anybody who becomes aware of an issue against his property after a rates invoice has been issued, can register it with Council for the next session. The rates as having been raised against his property ought to be paid in full and any adjustments that may come his way will be entertained in subsequent years. In other words the adjustment is not made in retrospect.
ASSESSMENT AND COLLECTION OF RATES
The valuation roll forms the basis upon which Council levies rates on properties in the urban area. It is therefore important that property owners ensure its accuracy before it is finalised and implemented. Liability for rates The person who owns the rateable property on the 1stday of each financial year is liable to pay rates relating to that financial year through the following means:
i) Cash or cheques paid over the counter at the Municipal Council Offices.
Council’s bank accounts are as follows:
How often are rates levied on rateable properties?
This is done once a year within the first three months of a new financial year.
When do they become due and payable?
They become due and payable at the expiry of thirty (30) days from the date of issue of the rates bill (invoice). The ratepayer may pay part or all of it before the due date. He can also approach Council to enter into an instalment arrangement effectively spreading payment over the remainder of the financial year to 31st March. It is not enough to only secure the instalment agreement it must also be honoured by paying the agreed amounts on the agreed dates otherwise it counts for nothing.
The advantages of entering into and honouring ones’ instalment arrangements are the following:
i) You will not be sent a letter of final demand asking you to pay within a stipulated time failing which legal action will be taken against you.
ii) You will not be sent a certified statement notifying you that judgement has been obtained against you for not paying your rates on time.
iii) The balance sitting on your property account will not attract the statutory 15% p.a. interest for late payment. It will also not attract the additional 15% penalty to cover Council’s collection costs in the event that your account gets handed over to collectors.
WAYS TO ENCOURAGE EARLY SETTLEMENTS OF RATES
As a way of incentivizing its ratepayers towards early settlement of their property rates Council runs competitions. We divide our ratepayers into Residents and Commercial property owners. Winners in category get to win lucrative prizes. It is open to all property owners but Council employees who own property are encouraged not to take part to safeguard against conflict of interest and to maintain good corporate governance ethics.
THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING SECTION
The major function of this section is to ensure that all Council suppliers are paid on time. Key pieces of legislation within this section are the Urban Government Act and the Financial Regulations 1969.
The overall responsibilities of this section are:
” Processing of purchase orders and payment of Council suppliers
” Preparation of cashbook and reconciliation with bank statements
” Verification of source documents and amount (matching)
” Preparation of GL audit schedules and draft financial statements for audit purposes
” Production of reports timeously i.e. management accounts, payments register to enable management and councilors to take informed decisions
” Maintenance of Council’s Fixed Asset Register
” Consolidate tenders for annual sources of supplies to Council