HCM draft budget tabled

2016-03-31 06:00

THE proposed budget for the Hibiscus Coast Municipality has been tabled and it comprises an operating budget of R785 051 100 and a capital budget of R131 776 135 which totals R916.7 million.

These figures were released by HCM mayor Councillor Cynthia Mqwebu on Tuesday.

The mayor stressed that the priority focus of the municipality is the improvement of infrastructure, so a considerable portion of the budget was dedicated to road upgrades, pothole repairs, electricity upgrade and storm-water management.

“This is done in recognition of the central role played by an efficient infrastructure network in stimulating economic growth and development,” said municipal spokesperson, Simon April.

Property rates, waste removal and other tariffs will increase by seven percent.

A 9.4% increase has been proposed for electricity, subject to approval by the energy regulator, Nersa.

The mayor also indicated that due to the amalgamation of the Hibiscus Coast and Ezinqoleni municipalities, the 2016/2017 budget of the new municipality will be operational either from 1 July, or on the first day of the month following the last calendar day of the month in which elections are held.

The mayor highlighted other critical items on the budget:

• Ward committee allowances have been allocated R2.6 million.

•Youth empowerment initiatives have been allocated R1,4 million.

• Internships, uniform assistance for destitute­ children and the mayoral registration fees budget will add a combined R1,2 million towards the empowerment of young people.

• There is an allocation of R900 000 for poverty alleviation programmes plus R1,5 million for the Food for Waste Project.

• Vulnerable households will benefit close to R50 million through the indigent support programme­, which covers free basic services and rates rebates.

• In terms of tourism, R1,1 million has been budgeted for the women’s golf tournament, R500 000 towards the Ugu Jazz Festival, R450 000 for Africa Bike Week, R200 000 for the Uvukile Gospel­ Festival, R150 000 for the Gamalakhe Music Festival, R150 000 for the HCM Cycling Classic and R150 000 for the HCM Marathon

• HCM will also continue to make contributions to Ugu South Coast Tourism and the Ugu Development Agency, who are allocated just over R1,7 million each.

The draft budget was adopted by council, paving the way for consultation sessions with the community in seven cluster meetings that will begin on Friday, 1 April for Cluster 7 at Breamer Community Hall.

The public is encouraged to attend and share their views on the budget.

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