Byo increases tariffs

BULAWAYO - The city council here has defended its 2019 budget, which will see residents forking out more in rent and rates.

In its budget presented last week, council increased its budget to $212,5 million from $152, 5 million.

The city fathers also indicated that they may be forced to review the budget due to the unpredictable economic situation which is eroding earnings.

According to a presentation by Bulawayo City Council (BCC)’s chairperson of Finance and Development committee, councillor Silas Chigora, fixed charges will increase by between 34,5 percent and 188 percent, while the billed payments will increase by five percent.

The council felt that for the proposed budget to deliver services to the residents, it has to be financed through tariff increases which were last increased in 2015.

“Water fixed charges and sewerage fixed charges have been increased in order to invest in infrastructure rehabilitation. Council continues to lose treated water through pipe bursts and the increase would assist in that regard.

“The marginal increase proposals of five percent on billed payments has been influenced by inflation figures, these include, water consumption, sewerage usage,
rentals, solid waste management and rates,” Chigora said during his presentation.

Grave charges will also increase with a standard grave increasing by more than 70 percent from $37 to $63.

In the proposed budget, council has set a revenue budget of $116,6 million up from this year’s figure of $104,5 million.

Capital expenditure for 2019 has been pegged at $95,9 million up from $48 million and this brings the total budget to $212,5 million up from $152,5 million, representing a 39,3 percent increase.

Chigora told Daily News last week that the budget was people friendly and targeted at improving service delivery.

“The city’s 2019 budget is a people’s budget; its thrust is to improve service delivery amid recent price increases and the general sliding of the economy,” Chigora said.

“As responsible councillors we consulted in all wards and the majority were in agreement that as a city we needed to improve in our quest to meet expectations of rate payers. In order to do that it costs money hence the minimal five percent increase,” he said.

On the grave charges increase, Chigora said this was meant to have cemeteries properly maintained.

He also said there was also a rising demand for total replacement of decaying water pipes and sewerage infrastructure which are now more than 50 years old.

“However, for now we will be doing it in batches and phases because we can’t afford to do them all in one year. We are grateful to AfDB’s grant which is helping us fund some of our current major refurbishments of out flow sewers and treatment works at Aisleby Farm.

“We are aware that our residents are finding it difficult hence the small increase which we hope will go a long way in meeting their expectations,” he said adding that they had to balance the costs of service delivery and tariff affordability.

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