PMC panel says no to property tax hike, yes to water charge hike

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the civic administration’s proposal to hike water charges by 15 per cent was accepted as this was necessary to implement the 24 x 7 water supply project in the city. (Representational Image)

In a move that will make it more difficult for the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) administration to achieve its revenue targets for the next financial year, the PMC Standing Committee on Thursday rejected its proposal to hike property tax by 12 per cent. The committee, however, accepted the proposal to hike water charges by 15 per cent, as has been done every year since 2017.

Earlier, the civic administration had tabled a draft budget of Rs 6,229 crore for FY 2020-21, with the proposed property tax hike. In its proposal seeking the hike, the civic administration had said it needed the additional revenue for emergency works as well as the expenditure incurred by ward offices.

“The committee has decided to retain the present property tax rates for 2020-21 financial year... it has rejected the civic administration’s proposal for a 12 per cent hike...,” said PMC Standing Committee Chairperson Hemant Rasane. “We have directed the civic administration to plug leakages in the tax collection process instead of burdening regular tax payers,” he added.

This was the same statement made by the committee last financial year, when it had rejected the civic administration’s proposal seeking a hike in property tax and asked it reduce leakages in the tax collection system.

The PMC may face a shortage of as much as Rs 2,000 crore in its Rs 6,765-crore budget for the current financial year.

Rasane said the civic administration’s proposal to hike water charges by 15 per cent was accepted as this was necessary to implement the 24 x 7 water supply project in the city. The civic body had, in 2016-2017, decided to hike water charges by 15 per cent every year till 2020-21 to raise funds for the water supply project.

But Pune residents will still have to pay more in taxes as the PMC has already decided to remove the 45 per cent concession in property tax granted to “self-occupied” residential properties for the last 49 years.

The civic body has, however, decided to continue with its concession scheme for those paying taxes before June-end and also provide an additional discount of 10 per cent in general tax to encourage the use of solar energy, rainwater harvesting and vermiculture projects to process waste.