The Nicosia Sewerage Board on Monday approved the reduction of sewerage fees by 27 per cent, following a House vote to this effect last week.
In a statement, the board announced the suspension of receiving payment for 2017 sewerage fees until November 17, at either the board’s tills or through banks or the internet.
During this period, the board decided, payment would be accepted only in exceptional cases, like property transfers, and only at the board’s Nicosia headquarters.
Property owners who have not paid their sewerage dues by November 6, it was announced, will be sent new invoices with the reduced rates, while owners who have paid the higher invoices will see their accounts credited with the surplus, which will be deducted from next year’s bill.
Normal payments at the board’s offices and through banks and the internet will resume on Monday, November 20, the statement said.
This was the first year that sewerage fees were levied on property values as at 2013, revising the 1980 values that, in many cases, took no account of market values and any development in land since then.
The revision has meant that despite an overall average reduction in fees some property owners saw their annual sewerage bills spike dramatically, resulting in parliament stepping in to address the issue.
Following some deliberation, it was established that the new rates would have brought municipalities higher revenues than the old regime.
Parliament decided to activate the ‘fiscally-neutral’ rule, a law stipulating that sewerage boards could only charge rates that would generate the cost of building their area’s sewerage system.
This would force the municipalities of Nicosia and Paphos to lower their rates in order to bring the total collected on par with last year.
But while Nicosia was quick to adopt the House decision, Paphos continues to hold out, insisting that lowering the rates will create deficits that will eventually be passed on to residents.