MANGALORE: Unshackled from bonds of the model code of conduct, mayor Mahabala Marla has asserted an assurance that Congress gave to the electorate on the eve of elections to the Mangalore City Corporation in March 2013 - no hike in taxes.
In the same breath, Marla also put on hold a move that would have effectively ensured that citizens paid an enhanced solid waste management (SWM) cess along with their property tax under the self-assessment scheme.
Marla, who made this categoric re-assertion on Friday, told TOI: "Both these decisions - to hike the solid waste management cess and effect a periodic hike in property tax rates were taken by the deputy commissioner in his capacity as an administrator." Noting that this is contrary to the assurance that the Congress gave the electorate, Marla said: "We will review these decisions when the council meets in May, dates for which is being finalized."
Observing that the date for the first council meeting will be arrived at any day after May 9, a day on which elections to the post of chairpersons of the four standing committees of the City Corporation will be held; Marla said MCC will not collect enhanced SWM cess unless the council of the civic body gives its nod. People in the meanwhile should pay user's fee to the contractor for collecting waste from the doorsteps of the respective houses.
Likewise, the council will also take a call on decision of the administrator to hike the property tax by 15%. If the council decides to reverse the decision, property owners who have paid the tax at enhanced rates during 2014-15 can deduct the same as excess paid while paying the property tax during next financial year. Incidentally, this issue had led to a major slanging match between the BJP and the Congress in the run up to the Lok Sabha polls.
MCC commissioner Ajith Kumar Hegde not getting drawn in to the mayor's assurance said: "We had sought clarification from the urban development department on both these issues during the polls and are awaiting an official word."
Observing that many property owners have paid their tax as per revised rates including the SWM cess, he said any decision that the council takes contrary to the KMC Act will necessarily be referred to the state government.