Hilton Ratepayers’ Association Newsletter

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HILTON RATEPAYERS’ ASSOCIATION
QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER: JANUARY 2014

The Committee of the Hilton Ratepayers’ Association (HRA) decided at its meeting in December 2013 to distribute a Newsletter every quarter in order to publicise more widely its activities, and also to obtain further feedback from the ratepayers and residents of Hilton. This first Newsletter gives a summary of past and current activities, possibilities for further activities, Committee membership, and communication details.

The constitution of the HRA gives the objectives for its existence as follows:

The objects of the Association shall be to concern itself with all aspects of local government, excepting any party political matters, with special reference to the interests of the ratepayers and residents of Hilton. It shall take such action as it sees fit to represent the interests of the said ratepayers and residents.

Membership of the HRA is open to all ratepayers in Wards 6 and 7 of the UMngeni Municipality at a membership fee of R200.00 per year.

Recent activities have included the following:
• Participation as an Interested and Affected Party (IAP) in the Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) for developments in Hilton. The aim is to ensure that development is carried out in such a way that the ambience of Hilton Village is enhanced while at the same time recognising the need to support appropriate development and progress.
• In particular as an IAP in the proposed Hilton – Mondi development by Laurusco Developments the HRA was involved in appointing specialists to assist in the first stage of the EIA, and most recently has instructed attorneys to appeal the approval granted for the provision of wastewater treatment facilities. A decision on this appeal has not yet been made. Participation of the HRA with others in the EIA process contributed to the removal of any industrial sites from the development, and the requirement for the HRA and others to be authorised to give oversight on detailed progress on the development;
• The HRA participated strongly in the property valuation roll carried out in 2011 and 2012, including the preparation of a detailed analysis which was submitted to Council officials;
• In dealing with infrastructure services, members of the HRA Committee were involved in the planning, design and construction stages of the new power line, preparation and submission of a detailed survey of road conditions, and water supply refurbishment and upgrade planning;
• The HRA has always adopted a constructive and cooperative approach in its dealings with officials and councillors of the uMngeni and Msunduzi Municipalities and the mutual relationships are therefore generally good;
• The Committee is working with other representative residential organisations in the uMngeni Municipality for the development of a joint forum to deal with issues where a combined effort may be beneficial.
The Committee currently has eight members with an acting Chairman, a Secretary and a Treasurer. Increased membership is desirable and is entirely voluntary. Communications with residents and ratepayers are by email (1,250 addresses) and Facebook (800 addresses).

The Committee meets once a month and as required when dealing with specific issues. The Councillor presents a report on Council activities and receives input from the Committee which can be referred to the Council. This includes a summary of the financial position of the uMngeni Municipality. It was noted at the last meeting that the payment of rates by Hilton residents is in arrears in the amount of approximately R9.5 million!

Membership funds have been used to pay for specialist advice, for the preparation and printing of reports, and for the hire of facilities for the AGM.