By Innocent Ruwende
The Harare City Council yesterday presented a $472,2 million budget for 2019 indicating that the local authority will increase water tariffs by 19 percent while charges for most services remain unchanged.
Presenting the budget during a special council meeting, chairman of the finance and development committee, Councillor Luckson Mukunguma said the increase in water tariffs had been necessitated by the drastic increase in the cost of chemicals, repairs and maintenance and capital charges on borrowed funds for capital works and other operational expenses.
A cubic metre of water, which is equivalent to five 200-litre drums, will cost 83 cents from 70 cents in 2018.
Council also increased clamping, tow away and storage charges by 100 percent saying the Central Business District has been characterised by chaos and mayhem and breaking the law is an avoidable choice.
Clamping fees are pegged at $57, towing $69 and storage fees range from $11 to $17 a day depending on the size of the vehicle.
Refuse collection fees remain unchanged at $6,50 for high-density and $9,50 for low-density suburbs per month while the cost of burial space remains stagnant at $200 for cremation, burial in Area B at Granville $75 and $175 in area A.
Health fees, property tax, business licensing fees, rank disc/route authority, ambulance, market, cremation and burial fees remain unchanged.
Cllr Mukunguma said the main thrust of the budget themed “City of Harare 2019: Transformative Budget: Towards a Smart City” was to transform and improve lives of the residents of Harare as opposed to being mere tools for recording and controlling expenditure patterns.
The capital budget is $125 981 600 while the revenue budget is $346 266 700.
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene was allocated a total of $51 856 200 while the roads programme was allocated $8,5 million, Public Safety and Security Services $13 711 900, Governance and Adiminstration Programme $31 032 300.
Harare expects to get the bulk of its money from rates ($104,9 million), water ($100,8 million), operations ($55,22 million) and refuse collection ($27,08 million).
“Your Worship (Mayor Herbert Gomba), we have kept most of our rates constant with the confidence that our stakeholders will play their part in meeting the affordable rates on time.
“We urge them to encompass a new culture of timely responsibility in 2019 in order to receive service delivery which is the cornerstone of these budget estimates,” said Cllr Mukunguma.
“The Smart City concept, which is characterised by the use of modern systems and processes as demanded by residents at various fora, will be sufficiently addressed by the budget before you Your Worship. Council is mindful of the general hardship among residents and has deliberately chosen not to hike rates and charges notwithstanding the economic volatility currently obtaining.” The Herald