BY SILAS NKALA
THE Hwange Local Board (HLB) might have lost a lot of revenue over the past two decades due to lack of valuation rolls to allow for the billing of its properties in the coal mining town.
Valuation rolls are lists of properties situated within the boundaries of a given local authority compiled for the purposes of billing and taxation.
Under the Urban Councils Act, all properties are rateable unless an application is made and approved by council.
According to HLB’s latest newsletter, town secretary Ndumiso Mdlalose said the local authority had written to the Local Government ministry seeking authority to carry out a general valuation roll of its properties.
Mdlalose said HLB could not ascertain the market value of some of its properties having last carried out the valuation roll exercise 20 years ago.
“Critically, if council fails to conduct the valuation roll, it will continue to levy ratepayers out of line with the dictates of the law,” Mdlalose said. A valuation roll has to be updated every 10 years.
However, the period can be extended by a further five years subject to a ministerial consent by a statutory instrument.
“The general valuation roll will capture newly-constructed properties, the improvements and subdivisions made in the last two decades. New suburbs and buildings have no market ratings at the moment,” Mdlalose said.
Hwange has a dual administration where some areas fall under the HLB and mining companies. HLB administers Empumalanga, Chibondo and Baobab suburbs while other areas fall under mining companies.
In her past reports, Auditor-General Midlred Chiri noted that several local authorities were not billing properties under their jurisdiction due to lack of valuation rolls, losing potential revenue in the process.
Other local authorities were reported to be operating without asset management policies, accounting procedures manuals and risk management policies.
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