Bathurst ratepayers want to know where their rates go

ROB KNOWLES

ALMOST 50 people attended the Bathurst Residents and Ratepayers Association (BRRA) AGM, held at Centenary Hall on Saturday morning and, once the main order of business had been put to bed, several important issues were raised by the membership.

Most prominently, members wanted to know why money collected by the municipality in terms of rates and taxes was spent elsewhere, and not in Bathurst.

Des Lynch, on behalf of the BRRA executive committee, said he was aware that much of the money collected went to fixing roads in other locations within the municipal district, and that not much came back to Bathurst.

Another question from the floor asked where the money for the environmental levy went. It appeared no one had been able to get hold of a statement of the environmental levy account from the municipality since its inception.

Lynch confirmed that, after consultation with the municipality he had learned money was not spent within the Bathurst area, but had rather been ring-fenced to fence the Port Alfred municipal dumpsite.

On the question of withholding rates, Lynch explained that he had watched other groups in Ndlambe fail at dealing with the municipality.

“I have seen the NRF (Ndlambe Ratepayers’ Forum) and Nag (Ndlambe Action Group) try different ways to get things done in the municipality,” said Lynch. “Nag tried confrontation, and the NRF cooperation. Neither seems to have worked.”

A call was then made to withhold rates from Ndlambe, but Lynch stepped in and asked the matter be delayed until a future meeting where the full implications of withholding rates can be discussed.

The new BRAA executive committee was also voted in at the AGM and comprises Lynch, Howard Butler, Derek de Lange, Gavin Came and Brenda Faye. Outgoing chairwoman Suzette Grist said she was unavailable to stand again this year.

The executive committee will elect office bearers from among themselves at a separate meeting.

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