A public meeting to inform the residents of Onrus and Vermont about the proposed Special Ratings Area concept was well attended, with the majority of seats at the Onrus NG Church occupied.
A steering committee that was established three and half years ago, welcomed residents and Abner Inghels, a member of the SRA steering committee, gave a presentation on what an Onrus and Vermont SRA would look like.
A Special Ratings Area aims to provide supplementary municipal services to a specified neighbourhood with residents within that neighbourhood funding the SRA with supplementary property taxes.
Inghels gave an overview of what the application process looks like and where the Onrus and Vermont application is at the moment. “We have not yet submitted our proposal to the Overstrand Municipality,” he explained. He said this will only take place once the voting has been completed.
The voting will now take place over a two month period and if 50% plus one positive votes are received from property owners in these suburbs, the steering committee will go ahead and submit its proposal to the Overstrand Council.
The details of the business plan and the proposed five year budget were published on the Onrus and Vermont SRA website after the meeting, and residents are encouraged to study these documents. Inghels said the plan is to increase security, cleanliness and safety of Onrus and Vermont. One of the proposed projects entails the installation of six number plate recognition cameras that can monitor all the entrances to the two suburbs and some of the public open spaces. “More cameras can be added in the following years.” He said a security vehicle with two security guards and two security guards on foot will be appointed within the first financial year. Other proposed services include the maintenance of the green belts, estuary monitoring, additional refuse collection during peak holiday seasons and life guards at Onrus Beach during long weekends. Street lights for Vermont is also proposed.
The total income for the first financial year is set at about R1,9 million for the 4 133 erven in Onrus and Vermont or R164 823 per month. An estimation of the additional rate that would be charged was also published and as an example, a residential property valued between R1,5 million and R3 million, may pay an additional rate of between R33,67 to R68,67 a month.
In a question and answer session after the presentation, the matter of the representation of residents on the steering committee, Inghels explained that the steering committee is made up of representatives from community organisations, including the Community Policing Forum, the OnVerWag Neighbourhood Watch, The Onrus Trading Post, The Vermont Ratepayers Association, The Onrus Ratepayers Association and the Ward committees. Ingles said if the SRA is voted for and approved, some of the functions of these organisations may overlap the work of the SRA and this must be looked at. He also made it clear that the steering committee will not necessarily be the directors of the Non-profit company that will manage the SRA, the directors will be voted in by the community.
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