New Century Local Government

Commonwealth Perspectives

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Democratic decentralisation through ‘conventional’ institutions of local government is facing increasing challenges, whether from financial pressures, questions of representativeness, difficult central-local relations and from a perhaps growing belief that local government has failed to realise its potential and there may be better ways of achieving societal goals. It is clear there is need to contemplate quite radical change to ensure local government becomes or remains ‘fit for purpose’.

This collection of papers illustrates the way in which the role of local government is evolving in different parts of the Commonwealth and provides practical examples of new local government at work. It showcases emerging practice, and highlights success stories from new ways of working and challenges confronting local government in both developed and developing countries.

New Century Local Government makes a very valuable contribution to helping understand the changing role of local government, and will ensure that practitioners are up-to-date with the most innovative initiatives in local government planning and administration.



Property Rates as an Instrument for Development: An Analysis of South African Policy, Law and Practice

When local governments impose property taxes, their primary objective is to fund their expenditure. However, the role of local government can be seen as far more than simply the provision of local public services. Local government can be an agent of its community, responsible for using its authority in a manner that creatively responds to local needs and thereby enhances the well-being of its area. This chapter asks if this interpretation of the role of municipalities has consequences for the manner in which they tax properties.


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