Council approves new budget

2018-06-07 06:01

THE Kouga Council approved the municipality’s operating and capital budgets for the new financial year, starting July, at a meeting last Thursday.

In terms of the new budget consumers can expect to pay 7,5% more for property rates in the new year. The tariffs for water will increase by 11%, sanitation by 9%, refuse collection by 8%, electricity by 7,57% on average and the Environmental Management Fee (EMF) by 6%.

Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks said the total operating expenditure for 2018/2019 amounted to R796,785-million, which is a 5,48% increase when compared to the 2017/18 adjustment budget.

The total operating revenue for 2018/2019 is R753,717-million, which represents an increase of 9,39 % or R64,69-million when compared to the adjustment budget.”

He said funding for the operating budget would be obtained from various sources, the major contributors being services such as electricity, water, sanitation, the EMF and refuse collection (53,08 %), property rates (23,45 %) and grants and subsidies from national and provincial government (16,4%).

The capital budget for 2018/2019 amounts to R67,745-million, which is R 1,689-million or 2,43 % less than the 2017/18 adjustment budget. It will be funded from government grants and subsidies, as well as internal funding.

Hendricks said the municipality’s financial position had improved to such an extent that internal funding could be used to boost its capital budget for the first time in years.

“Every effort will also be made to secure additional funding to continue upgrading our infrastructure and expanding services to all communities.”

He said unused and underutilised land had already been identified and plans for its sale were in place. “Land for commonages and emerging farmers also remains a high priority and is one of my personal objectives,” he added.

He said cutting on lavish spending was also a priority. “Therefore, the Mayor will drive his own car and the Speaker will drive his own car. I have also reduced the number of Mayoral Committee members from six to five to save costs and bring about a lean, but more effective, committee.”

He said the new budget made provision for staff costs of R 272,8 million.

“This figure represents 34,24 % of the total operating expenditure, well within the norm set by National Treasury.”

Repairs and maintenance for the 2018/19 year are budgeted at R37-million, equating to 4,65 % of the total operating budget.

While this percentage is below our target of 8%, the money will go to where it is needed most, with at least 71% of this allocation to be spent on infrastructure assets,” Hendricks said.

“We will also be spending R 6,5 million on replacing fleet that is no longer functional, further increasing our commitment to service excellence.”

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