Tariff hike relief for Bulawayo residents in 2017
BULAWAYO residents will not fork out more in tariffs next year after the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) adopted a standstill $158 million 2017 budget to ease pressure on ratepayers.
The budget comes after the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing descended on the local authority, suspending five councillors — including deputy mayor, Councillor Gift Banda — on corruption allegations.
The 2017 council proposed expenditure budget is pegged at $105 457 120 and the capital budget at $48 109 346 to make a total of $153 566 466.
Presenting the proposed budget at a special council meeting in council chambers yesterday, the chairperson of the Finance and Development Committee, Councillor Mlandu Ncube, said the revenue budget proposal of $105 457 120 is a standstill budget just like the 2016 budget with no tariff increases.
He said their top priority for 2017 would be water delivery together with health, sewerage and housing. The other five priorities will be roads, education, public lighting, social services, and fire and ambulance services.
“The 2017 revenue budget proposal of $105 457 120 is a standstill budget just like the 2016 budget with no tariff increases. The 2017 budget is expected to provide infrastructural development and to improve the welfare of our residents.
“Much of our infrastructure needs repair and maintenance; these include buildings, roads, water and sanitation infrastructure, youth centres, among others. The capital budget is pegged at $48,11 million. The projects will be funded from borrowings, internal sources and grant funding,” said Clr Ncube.
He revealed that they had failed to hold 2016 budget review meetings at ward level due to time constraints as the 2016 budget was only approved in August 2016.
“Council could not hold 2016 budget review meetings at ward level due to time constraints as the 2016 budget was only approved in August 2016 and the Ministry has set 28 October 2016 as the deadline for submitting the 2017 budget. A meeting was therefore held with only ward representatives and Councillors on Thursday, 25 August 2016 to review the 2016 budget and set priorities for the year 2017.
“A total of 147 representatives comprising 101 men and 46 females attended this meeting. The composition of the meeting was as follows; 116 ward representatives; 17 Bulawayo Residents Association (BURA) and 14 Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BUPRA),” said Clr Ncube.
Some of the major provisions included in the proposed budget are that the total revenue expenditure for the rates and general services account for the year 2016 should amount to $41,62 million and the income budget for the account is $43,67 million where the surplus of $2,05 million will be used to fund other services.
“The water account encompasses conservation, administration, delivery, purification and reticulation of water. A revenue expenditure budget of $18,31million is provided for the water account. The income budget is $31,21million. The surplus income in this account will be applied to rehabilitate water infrastructure and finance other important services such as personal health.
“Total revenue expenditure for the rates and general services account for the year 2017 amounts to $41,62 million and the income budget for the account is $ 43,67 million. The surplus of $2,05million will also be used to fund other services,” said Clr Ncube.—@vusadb.