The House interior committee decided on Monday to reduce Nicosia and Paphos sewerage fees for 2017 by 30 per cent and 15 per cent respectively after households received higher bills this year based on updated property values.
According to the head of the committee, Eleni Mavrou, the reduction, which was a suggestion by ruling Disy, will be applied to this year’s fees, and taxpayers in these two districts will be sent new bills with the revised amounts. The reduction for each household will be proportional to the original charge. Fees are payable, without penalty, until the end of the year.
Taxpayers who have already paid the increased fees, will benefit from the reduction next year, Mavrou said.
The two sewerage boards in question this year used 2013 property values, meaning higher bills for those whose owners had been paying very low rates in the past because the state and local authorities were using 1980s values.
“The imposition of a sewerage tax must be fiscally neutral,” Mavrou said. She added that the Nicosia and Paphos sewerage boards which increased the fees, have been asked to proceed with a reduction in the rates to restore balance.
Disy head Averof Neophytou welcomed the decision a positive step to the benefit of taxpayers.
Greens’ MP Giorgos Perdikis said that the revised fees meant additional proceeds to the tune of €5m for the Nicosia sewerage board and €1m for that of Paphos.
During the process to update values in 2013, the authorities found numerous cases where a property that was just a plot in the 1980s now contained a house or apartment block.
Nicosia sewerage board deputy director Savvas Hadjineocleous had told MPs last month that all these years, people whose properties were properly valued had been in a way subsidising those whose real estate was not. MPs heard last month that the change meant a reduction of rates in 60 per cent to 70 per cent of cases, and a raise in 30 per cent to 40 per cent.