Mangaluru, Dec 22, 2016 : Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC) on Thursday approved a hike of 15 per cent in property tax under self-assessment scheme (SAS) from April 1, 2017. Notwithstanding spirited opposition to the agenda in the special meeting from the opposition, the ruling Congress citing section 109A of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976 approved the hike stating that the hike has been at the lowest level of 15 per cent against provision to hike it up to 30 per cent.
The agenda (to revise property tax) for the second time in three years provided BJP the ammunition to attack the ruling Congress which in the run up to the civic body polls had asserted that it will not do so. When Congress corporators sought to justify the move citing the provision in the act that mandates upward revision in property tax, the BJP countered them asking weren’t they aware of the same while giving a categoric assurance to the voters ahead of the polls?
The issue also saw ruling and principal opposition spar over who introduced the property tax under SAS mode. A clarification from Commissioner Mohammad Nazeer that resolution to collect property tax was moved by then DC M Maheshwar Rao in his capacity as administrator of MCC on October 30, 2007 and ratified when Ganesh Hosabettu of the BJP was the Mayor between February 21, 2008 and February 25, 2009 led to further spirited verbal jousting.
MCC embraced property tax on April 1, 2008 and has revised it twice since then on April 1, 2011 and April 1, 2014 and next revision is due from April 1, 2017, Nazeer said. The council incidentally had taken a decision to oppose the revision of taxes in 2011, but had to do so when the state government directed the commissioner to implement the same as per provision of the Act, Nazeer said adding the government would overturn any decision against the Act.
Nazeer acknowledging deficiencies in the property tax collection under SAS said lack of up-to-date records on all 1.95-lakh properties in the city had hurt its revenue mobilization. "We have roped in Diya Systems to ensure that the property data information for 25-wards is readied on a pilot and collect data for the remaining 35 wards later on a priority," he said adding the civic body will also take steps to plug in loopholes and go after defaulters on a trial and error method.