Nduduzo Tshuma Senior Reporter
THE Bulawayo City Council has proposed a budget of $158 million for 2015 which will see tariffs increasing by four percent. The proposed budget is only $2 million more than this year’s.
Residents have up to 30 days to lodge objections to the budget before it is submitted to the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing for approval.
Ward 7 Councillor James Sithole, chairperson of the Finance and Development Committee, presented the budget in the council chambers yesterday.
He said the revenue budget was pegged at $107,298,518 and the capital budget at $50,797,712.
Clr Sithole said council expected to get the bulk of the money to finance the budget from the Rate and General Services Account which is expected to rake in about $48 million followed by the Water Account expected to bring about $37 million and the Sewerage Account projected to bring in about $12 million.
“Total revenue expenditure for the rates and general services account for the year amounts to $48,42 million and the income budget for the account is $48,44 million,” said Clr Sithole.
He said revenue expenditure for administration was pegged at $19,1 million and will be financed mainly from property taxes.
“As at August 2014, council was owed $84,7 million by ratepayers. The increase in debtors is a cause for concern as it indicates that most ratepayers are not paying their full bills every month. Ratepayers therefore, are encouraged to pay their bills timeously so as to enjoy improved services. The city wishes to regain its status of being the cleanest city in the region,” said Clr Sithole.
He said after consultation meetings with residents, water, health, sewerage, housing, roads, education, public lighting, social services and fire and ambulance were set as priority areas in service delivery.
Clr Sithole said council had not increased tariffs for the past two years but the cost of inputs like fuel had gone up.
“The council therefore is recommending a marginal increase in tariffs of four percent with effect from January 1, 2015. The proposed increase is meant to improve service delivery,” said Clr Sithole.
He said council on its part will strive to cut costs through efficient service delivery.
“Council will also ensure that all loopholes that may exist in the billing of all properties are addressed urgently so that all consumers of the services contribute towards service delivery,” he said.
Clr Sithole said the capital budget seeks to replace plant and related equipment used in the servicing of stands, road construction, acquisition of service motor vehicles and medical equipment.
“Council infrastructure such as roads, sewer and water reticulation systems have outlived their life span and require rehabilitation,” he said.
Clr Sithole also said there was a need to replace furniture in schools and other community centres.