SFB home owners asked to pay for repairs to the town

 

By Bev Mortimer

St Francis Bay property owners are being asked to make a voluntary payment equivalent to existing rates on their respective properties to the SFB Ratepayers Association Infrastructure Fund.  

These funds will be used for the repair and maintenance of the town’s infrastructure for the roads, sewerage, storm water drains, dune spit and for the beach – repairs which will cost well in excess of R200-million.

And the proponents of a 5-year strategy plan for St Francis Bay say the town should be considered as a ‘Private Estate’ if its home owners, residents and businesses wish to preserve its infrastructure.  The strategy plan was presented last week at St Francis Links Golf Estate by Wayne Furphy and Chris Gray of the SFBRA,

The proponents say the municipality does not have the funds to do the repairs (see details, below) and in order to prevent properties from being devalued if the town falls into decay, home owners and businesses and residents are asked to contribute to the fund.

The contributions will be voluntary until such time as St Francis Bay is registered as a Self Improvement District (SID) with the Kouga Municipality, which allows it to collect levies (in addition to rates) for the Infrastructure Fund.

In the SFBRA press release it says all private estates (St Francis Links, Rivertide etc.) pay rates to the municipality and also pay a levy (often equivalent to the rates) to the Estate’s governing body to maintain all services.

The following is a breakdown of all the repair costs needed to be done to repair and preserve the town, plus  steps to be undertaken to complete the plan successfully..

Cost of Infrastructure Repair & Maintenance • Roads (30kms)   = R19.2m • Stormwater drains repairs (existing)  = R400k • Stormwater drains new (budget) = R1.5m • Sewerage vehicles (tbc)  = R1m

  • Sewerage line extensions =?    Total (5 years) = R22.1m 

Cost of Infrastructure Repair & Maintenance:

  • Emergency Repairs to Spit & Beach – Phase 1 – BAR cost = R400k – Repair cost = R34m-41m
  • Restoration of River, Spit & Beach – Phase 2 – EIA cost = R1m – Restoration cost = R160m-200m (Worley Parson) – Maintenance cost = tbd Total river, spit & beach costs  = R195m-241m

Proposed actions to be undertaken in the five years were presented at the meeting as follows:

Roads, Storm water Drains & Sewerage: 

  • Take over the maintenance of SFB’s infrastructure: roads, storm water drains, sewerage service, river, spit and beach.
  • Create a Maintenance team to maintain the roads, storm water drains and sewerage service.

River, Spit & Beach:

  • Work directly with DEDEAT and Oceans to Coast to address the River, Spit and Beach problems.
  • Establish the SFBRA as the single point of responsibility for the maintenance of SFB’s Infrastructure, as per DEDEAT’s recommendations.
  • Register SFB as a SID (Self Improvement District) with the municipality, which allows it to collect a levy to fund the Infrastructure maintenance.
  • Until the SID is established, raise funds directly from Property Owners, through a voluntary payment (equivalent to the existing rates on the property) to the SFBRA Infrastructure Fund.

Managing the Funds Raised:

  • Establish a Fund to finance SFB Infrastructure maintenance.
  • Register a Schedule 1 company (not for Profit).
  • Register the Company as a PBO with SARS. • Appoint a Board of Directors with a blend of competence and objectivity.
  • Raise money from property owners, business owners, government and other stakeholders.

Raising Funds:

  • Property Owners: pay an additional levy equivalent to their current rates to SFBRA Infrastructure Fund e.g. a property valued at R4m pays rates of R2,000 per month (R24k pa).
  • Business Owners – donations.
  • Government : National, Provincial and Local Govt. contributions to River, Spit and Beach restoration.
  • Other Stakeholders : PBO contributions.

In conclusion the proponents state the following about the fund raising:

        * SFB has 1,550 properties (with dwellings) and 600 vacant plots (excl. private                           estates)

  • SFBRA Property Owners pay R37m in rates pa to Kouga.
  • Property Owners pay the equivalent of what they pay in rates to the SFB Infrastructure Fund.
  • SFB can raise R37m each year (excl. private estates), and raise R185m over 5 years.
  • Once the infrastructure has been fixed, then one can expect to pay a lower amount, perhaps 25% of the annual rates amount.
  • Examples: Sea Point, Cape Town CBD, Richmond Hill (PE).

Also in conclusion, the proponents of the Strategy Plan stressed that unity was needed among residents for the plan to be successful.

In its press release the SFBRA says the strategy plan was well received and supported by those in attendance at the meeting at St Francis Links. It also welcomes feedback.

Edited by St Francis Chronicle

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