Rusape ratepay­ers owe coun­cil $24m

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Man­i­ca­land Cor­re­spon­dent

RUSAPE Town Coun­cil is owed $24 mil­lion in un­paid rates, levies and li­cences by res­i­dents and other ratepay­ers.

This was re­vealed by town sec­re­tary, Mr Solomon Gabaza who said his coun­cil had pro­posed a $7,1 mil­lion bud­get for the year 2019 with the ma­jor­ity of funds be­ing al­lo­cated to cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture.

“Our res­i­dents and ratepay­ers owe coun­cil $24 mil­lion in un­paid rates,” he said.

“We have not yet en­gaged the ser­vices of debt col­lec­tors or our lawyers to re­cover the debts, but we are us­ing the di­a­logue method in which our debtors are clear­ing their ar­rears through pay­ment plans.

“We con­stantly re­mind them to clear their debts so that we con­tinue pro­vid­ing qual­ity ser­vice to them. Some are heed­ing the call and have al­ready started clear­ing their debts and we con­tinue to urge oth­ers to fol­low suit.”

Turn­ing to the 2019 bud­get, Mr Gabaza said Rusape had not in­creased rates and tar­iffs for this year.

“We have bud­geted $7,1 mil­lion for the 2019 fi­nan­cial year,” he said.

“Coun­cil fin­ished con­sult­ing all our stake­hold­ers who in­clude res­i­dents, the busi­ness com­mu­nity, small to medium en­ter­prises, res­i­dents’ as­so­ci­a­tions and churches among other stake­hold­ers.

“The feed­back and con­tri­bu­tions we got from the con­sul­ta­tions were en­cour­ag­ing, as stake­hold­ers were very sup­port­ive of our de­ci­sion not to in­crease rates.

“Cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture is go­ing to chew the huge per­cent­age of the funds as we are go­ing to carry out a num­ber of projects. We are go­ing to tar many of our gravel roads. We have bud­geted for the re­sus­ci­ta­tion of Makoni Coun­try Club and Ven­gere sports fa­cil­i­ties.

“We in­tend to con­struct a fire sta­tion and pur­chase a new fire ten­der to com­ple­ment the one we have. Coun­cil is go­ing to buy a new am­bu­lance to ser­vice our three clin­ics.

“At Ven­gere bus ter­mi­nus we are go­ing to put new and mod­ern sheds.

“We are go­ing to have mas­sive sewer retic­u­la­tion projects in all the new stands and re­place age­ing sewer and wa­ter pipes in the whole town.”

Rusape is the sec­ond largest ur­ban set­tle­ment in Man­i­ca­land with a pop­u­la­tion of 35 000 res­i­dents and is eye­ing mu­nic­i­pal sta­tus by the year 2020.

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