Cape Argus

All eyes on City’s 2019/20 budget


ON MAY 29, Council will hold a special daylong meeting to consider the 2019/20 budget. The public participat­ion process regarding the 2019/20 draft budget elicited 3 952 comments from residents.

If I were to hazard a guess many of these comments will relate to the proposed increases in water and electricit­y tariffs which will be in the region of 9%. Refuse removal it is proposed should go up by 5%.

The other area of concern for property owners will naturally be the higher valuation of properties which will attract higher rates if rebates are not taken into account.

I am going to write to the Executive Mayor urging him to have an online portal set up where residents can get an idea of what the proposed increase, if approved by Council, will mean for each of them in actual rand and cents terms, using an average of the past three months to forecast what their new bills will look like.

This is necessary because many residents may not have taken into account the relief measures being proposed to ameliorate the burden of ratepayers. Those who are going to be seriously affected after everything is taken into account can then raise their concerns with us, as councillor­s, so that we can raise them in our debate.

Fixed charges will remain unchanged.

The new budget has some promising projects. Four areas will receive particular attention – crime, grime, basic service delivery and housing. Residents will have already seen greater visibility of enforcemen­t officers and a larger number of patrol cars doing duty.

The new big issue will be the greater targeting of cleaning up the city. I am in support of the mayor on this. The citywide clean-up campaign must continue unabated.

Another area of sharp focus has to be the provision of social housing, involving as many partners as possible so that the acute shortage of housing can be met expeditiou­sly through joint engagement.

I am also very supportive of the City’s efforts in trying to procure electricit­y from independen­t power producers. Many industries and businesses suffered losses when Eskom created power outages. We need an ace up our sleeves to guarantee continuity of supply.

If, after due considerat­ion is given to public comments, things stand as presently, R40.7 billion will be allocated for operating expenditur­e. R8.3 billion will be earmarked for capital expenditur­e. I will also support the expenditur­e of R589 million to mainstream basic service delivery to informal settlement­s and backyard dwellers and spending R2.3 billion to increasing housing output.

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