With the civic polls a year away, there may not be a hike in municipal taxes in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) annual budget to be presented today, but you might still end up paying more taxes indirectly.
Municipal commissioner Subodh Kumar will present the BMC’s budget for the year 2011-2012 before the civic standing committee today.
Sources said revenue earners such as octroi charges, development charges, hoarding and licence fees, and advertising charges are likely to be hiked by at least 10-25%. Although the BMC will not make you pay for this directly, those paying these charges will recover them from you in some way.
The civic administration also wanted to increase water taxes by at least 35%, but the proposal was dropped due to political pressure with the ruling Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance opposing new taxes.
The civic election will be held in early 2012. The saffron combine is already battling strong anti-incumbency factors and does not want to hike civic taxes and upset people.
“We will not allow hike in any taxes whether direct or indirect,” said Rahul Shewale chairman of the civic standing committee. Charges for completing procedural formalities in civic hospitals — getting case papers made, for example — are also likely to increase, sources said.
A senior civic official, requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media, said that these increase in charges will not be a part of the budget, but will be introduced in phases to avoid any protests from political parties.
The official said that the BMC’s financial position is beginning to stabilise and certain taxes are being increased to further strengthen it.
The deficit in the civic body’s budget last year was Rs31 crore. The BMC is expected to earn an extra 20% from increase in octroi and the building proposal and development plan department is expecting a 12-15% rise in development charges levied on developers for various permissions they approach the civic body for.
The total budget for 2011-2012 is likely to increase by 2 to 5% from the current budget of Rs 20,400 crore. The focus of the budget will be to complete ongoing projects after prioritising the city’s needs. The thrust will be on water supply, beautification and health projects, and improving the quality of roads. Even as the civic polls are approaching, this financial year, the BMC has decided to discontinue the development fund given to each corporator.