Michael Magoronga, Midlands Correspondent
Residents of KWEKWE are expected to prepare for a 50 percent increase in water tariffs from next month after local authorities revised its tariffs upwards, citing the need to stay afloat amid inflationary pressures .
It comes as the local authority has proposed a budget of $ 5.7 billion for the year 2022, up from $ 1.9 billion last year.
In the budget proposal, which was made in full consultation with the public and the business community, Kwekwe proposed to increase water tariffs for high-density suburbs from $ 160 to $ 240 while for commercial users, prices will drop from $ 191 to $ 258.
Garbage removal fees will be set at $ 800 starting at $ 650, remediation rates going from $ 600 to $ 825 and fire taxes from $ 350 to $ 500.
Street lighting costs have been reduced from $ 400 to $ 500 and school taxes from $ 400 to $ 500.
Acting City Clerk Dr Lucia Mnkandla said the council consulted with stakeholders when developing the 2022 budget.
âDuring the consultation meetings, which we held in all neighborhoods, it was agreed that it was imperative that taxpayers complement the efforts of the council to provide services by supporting the culture of prompt payment of bills for a functioning and a generally fluid management of the local authority, “she said.
âThe council budget was prepared on a cost recovery basis in order to provide affordable and efficient service to the city.
This saw the budget raise all tariffs for 2021 in line with macroeconomic fundamentals, also taking inflation numbers into account.
âIn preparing the budget, the board took into consideration the board’s ability to continue to provide services based on cost recovery, economic indicators, financial performance of board liquidity and vulnerable groups to access services. basic services, among other factors. “
Dr Mkandla said the 2021 budget performance stood at 65% as taxpayers still struggled to pay their dues, which derailed service delivery.
âTaxpayers continue to struggle to pay their bills, as a result the council has not honored its obligations to creditors on time. As of September 30, our total expenses amounted to $ 672,279,789 while total revenues amounted to $ 1,234,543,967 against a budget of $ 1,886,320,341, âshe said.
âThis was due to cash flow problems due to low income. “
As of September 30, Kwekwe owed $ 857 million while she owed $ 163 million. The local authority has debt collection strategies in place including face-to-face engagement, payment plans, legal actions, phone follow-ups and also door-to-door debt collection.
Dr Mnkandla said the board has since been successful in securing payment plans with Zimra, medical aid companies, Nssa, Zinwa, LAPF, Zimdef, among other creditors.
She said the city prides itself on being one of the few local authorities whose 2020 financial statements have been audited.