Gweru proposes $31m budget, reduces water tariffs
Gweru City Council yesterday proposed a $31 million budget for 2016, a slight decrease from last year’s $33m.
The city slashed water tariffs by 10%, but unamused residents blasted commissioners running the city and council officials for awarding themselves hefty allowances at the expense of service delivery.
Presenting the budget at Town House, finance director, Edgar Mwedzi said council had taken into account the economic hardships faced by residents in coming up with a “static budget”, which also saw a review of water tariffs.
“Our budget is basically a static one as we have slightly decreased it from last year’s $33m to $31m,” he said.
“That slight decrease is because of a portion on water charges we also reduced.”
Mwedzi said except for the water charges, all other tariffs remained unchanged as the local authority sought to ease the economic burden on ratepayers.
The domestic consumption water charge per cubic metre up to 20 cubic metres, was reduced from 80 cents to 70 cents, while consumption of 21 to 30 cubic metres fell from $1,20 to $1,05, 31 to 50 cubic metres from $1,60 to $1,40, 51 to 100 cubic metres from $2 to $1,75, while more than 100 cubic metres consumption was reduced from $2,50 to $2,20 per cubic metre.
Commercial and industrial consumption of one to 100 cubic metres was reduced from $1,60 to $1,40 per cubic metre, while that above 100 cubic metres from $1 to 90 cents. Raw water charges were reduced to 90 cents from $1 per cubic metre.
“Our move is to make sure everyone gets water at manageable levels,” Mwedzi said.
But Gweru Residents and Ratepayers’ Association chairperson, Cornelius Selipiwe said the reductions were cosmetic, as residents had not agreed to the 35% tariff increase effected by council last year.
There was drama when Gweru Vendors’ Association chairperson, John Samubvu Tekere said ratepayers were willing to pay, but that they were discouraged especially by the extravagance of commissioners and council officials.
“Mismanagement is just too high and we have three commissioners gobbling $67 000 in two months and that money can pay 180 council workers,” he said to loud applause from residents.
But one of the three commissioners, Mark Choga, shot back saying Tekere was being fed lies.
Choga said the $67 000 was just a rumour, adding that commissioners had not even been paid half of that amount.
He, however, drew the ire of residents when he said they should come to their offices if they wanted correct figures, with residents challenging him to reveal the figures there and then.
The commission, chaired by Tsunga Mhangami, was appointed by government in August this year to run the affairs at Gweru council following the suspension of 18 councillors.