Residential Estate Industry Journal 3 - Page 44

INDUSTRY FOCUS PAGE 42 the future Residential Estates – Mini Municipalities? Much has been written on the issue of rates being imposed on residential estates where municipalities have simply stopped providing services, fixing roads even where they belong to the municipality, replacing street lights, upgrading signage, removing refuse and so on. Local authorities continue to charge rates (set higher for residential estates than if the homes were in a suburb) even when they are not able to provide the services for which these rates were paid. In many instances the need to assure residents of an uninterrupted supply of goodquality water and electricity has forced communities to install their own distribution systems from boreholes or storage tanks and bulk power sources. Local government has failed to concede that because of this, each municipality should negotiate with these communities about the rates that continue to be charged. In effect, every organised residential community is a mini municipality with parks, roads, recreation centres, community centres, waste disposal areas, dams, wetlands and, in some cases, medical clinic facilities. There are numerous new developments and some existing schemes that are moving “off the grid” completely. It is unlikely that local government will ever accept or acknowledge that these communities are mini municipalities in their own right. There is new legislation being drafted that will, by default, place more responsibilities on estate management to perform the functions of a local municipality. The storage of emergency water is a case in point. It is interesting to compare the terminology used by local municipalities and homeowners’ associations. Mayor Chairperson Executive council Board Portfolio committees Subcommittees City manager Estate manager Constituencies Members By-laws Rules Elections Annual general meetings Rates Levies As an industry we should continue to work towards self-sustainability and prepare ourselves for legislation that could affect our ability to continue offering residents high levels of service. Please email for more examples.