Ramsgate’s special rating now awaits final approval from RNM

The Ramsgate Community Police Forum (RCPF) recently submitted the long- awaited application for a Special Rating Area for Ramsgate to the Ray Nkonyeni Municipality. Involved in the process are (from left) Kate Mardon (Ray Nkonyeni Municipality), Carla Steenkamp (RCPF chairman), Quinn Meecham (RCPF operations coordinator) and Sharon Smith (RCPF).

THE Ramsgate Community Police Forum (RCPF) recently submitted the long awaiting application for a Special Rating Area for Ramsgate to the Ray Nkonyeni Municipality.

Professor Olliver Ransome, chairman of the Ramsgate Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association, said the final approval for the scheme and the budget have not yet been granted by the municipality but that this would,  in all likelihood, be on the agenda for the April council meeting.

He added that it is ‘highly likely to be formally approved once approval has been received from the rates department’.

“In terms of the Municipal Property Rates Act and the RNM’s regulations, 51 percent of the eligible ratepayers have voted in favour of the scheme,” he said.

Prof Ransome said the collection of votes in began in April/May 2015 following the council’s initial approval to go ahead; the requisite number of votes was reached in February this year.

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“Primarily because a high percentage of property owners in Ramsgate own holiday homes, this was a difficult, expensive and time-consuming procedure. The Act however does not stipulate a time limit,” he said.

What does this mean for Ramsgate residents?

Prof Ransome said the RCPF was started by Bill Ross-Adams about 10 years ago in response to an unacceptably high rate of crime in the area. This, he said, has led to a dramatic reduction in crime.

The forum costs about R50 a month to run, which is paid by about 500 of the roughly 2800 ratepayers in Ramsgate. In effect, this means 2300 ratepayers have reaped the benefits (improved safety and property values) on the backs of the 500 who make a financial contribution.

If the scheme is finally approved, all ratepayers will be charged an additional R45 on their rates accounts;  RNM will collect this money and hand it over, less a 2.5 percent handling fee, to a Section 21 company (which is in the process of being formed) for use by the community.

Prof Ransome said the result will be not only equitable, but wold also see the RCPF much better funded and therefore able to do its work more effectively. That these schemes are effective is evidenced by the reduction in crime recorded in Southbroom over the last nine years and Marina Beach over the last 18 months.

Carla Steenkamp, RCPF chairman, thanked everybody who took part in the process, those involved in the application and voting process and the RCPF committee for volunteering their time.

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Special thanks were extended to Prof Ransome and Steve Thomas, as well to the Ray Nkonyeni Municipality staff who kindly who assisted the RCPF with the process.

“In due course this will be to the benefit of every resident and this will enable us to make Ramsgate safe again and bring back the feeling of living in a community that cares for each other,”  she said.

Ms Steenkamp added it must be noted that the CPF functions entirely on donations and without regular monthly contributions would be unable to build on its successes.

“Any and all contributions, no matter how small, will be gratefully accepted.”

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  AUTHOR
Shona Aylward
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