Date Published: Aug. 1, 2017, 7:30 p.m.
ith the aim of improving fiscal revenue, the municipality of Sousse established a partnership with a local start up to develop a series of IT products able to improve the collection of the tax on terraces. The services include: A satellite-based digital map of the city; A database with the geo-localization of the terraces and information on the owners; An IT program that helps coordinate tax collection and the organization of control missions. Operational since July 2015, the project has helped to update the localization of the terraces and in particular identify informal ones. Before the project started, the City had registered over 700 terraces, now this number has tripled and reached a total of 2147. The application has also changed the management of the department responsible for collecting the fees, reducing the recovery time and increasing the number of notices distributed per day. The project is expected to increase municipal revenues in this area by 20% in 2015.
An important source of revenue for the city of Sousse is generated by tourism and business, and in particular, the license fees for the use of public space by terraces, cafes, restaurants or shops. In recent years, two dynamics have constituted a difficulty for an effective tax recovery: urban sprawl has been translated into an increase in informal facilities, which constitute up to 60% in 2014. In addition, municipalities have suffered from a loss of authority since the political turmoil of 2011. As a consequence, recovering the license fees on terraces has constituted a considerable challenge and municipal revenues in this sector have decreased by 30% from 2011 to 2014.
In this context, the municipality of Sousse decided to develop an application facilitating the recovery of fees on terraces, targeting both a more effective tax recovery and an improved management of the municipal service responsible for the activity.
In 2014, the municipality of Sousse launched a program for optimizing the tax recovery of local businesses holding terraces in the city. In order to do so, the municipality reached out to a local start that was made responsible for developing an application that facilitates the follow up of tax recovery. The start up developed:
The project is mainly based on the development of a GIS layer on terraces, linked with a tailor-made application jointly defined by the municipality and the startup, involving service directors and municipal servants. To complete the application, the municipality aims to develop two further mobile features:
The project seeks to improve the control over and increase fiscal revenues, optimize the effectiveness of the municipal service responsible for the recovery, improve the capacities of municipal servants, enforce fiscal equality between taxpayers, reduce risks of clientele practices and corruption within municipal management, support entrepreneurship in the city and promote Private-Public Partnerships between ICT companies and the municipality.
Phase 1. Diagnostics and project conception
Facing a decrease in municipal tax recovery on the terraces, the municipal service responsible for their recovery opts for reforming its management making use of spatial data. Given that the GIS unit of the municipality did not dispose of a layer of information on the occupation of public space, the GIS unit and the municipal service for tax recovery launched a feasibility study on the possibility of introducing a new GIS layer. Both services decided furthermore to develop an application for the follow up on tax recovery. The board of IT services, in its function as project manager, drafted the Terms of Reference containing the missions of development and training that had previously been discussed with the different services and validated by the municipal commission and the mayor. Given that the project is aligned with a number of strategic objectives agreed upon by the city, it was included as one of the activities of the ‘Development Strategy of the City of Sousse 2030’, drafted between 2012 and 2014, and financed by the European program ENPI-CBC Med under the stewardship of MEDCITES.
During this first phase, the following activities were carried out:
Phase 2. Contract with the private counterpart
Phase 3. Execution of the contract and product delivery
Management and governance
The application is managed by the IT department, together with another ten applications.
The total costs of the project correspond to 14,000 euros.
The application was launched very recently, in July 2015. However, the development of the application in partnership with the startup furthermore allowed the municipal department to manage and plan its activities in a more efficient way. The project has helped to update the localization of the terraces and in particular identify informal ones. Before the project started, the City had registered over 700 terraces, now this number has tripled and reached a total of 2147. The application has also changed the management of the department responsible for collecting the fees, reducing the recovery time and increasing the number of notices distributed per day. The project is expected to increase municipal revenues in this area by 20% in 2015.
The project particularly had positive impact on the work of the municipal agents in charge of the follow-up of the collection of the tax on terraces, and more specifically on the following four actions:
Main difficulties of the project, as defined by the municipality of Sousse, are as follows:
According to the municipality, the key elements to take into account in order to guarantee the success of the project and of the partnership were: