Residents to face steep tariff increases

2016-06-02 06:00

KOUGA residents will have to tighten their belts after the Kouga Municipality approved water, electricity and rates increases ranging from 6% to 9%.

The increases, which come against a backdrop of rising food prices and fuel price increases, have drawn sharp criticism from the opposition who warned that the hike “will kill people”.

On Tuesday, at an ordinary Council meeting, the municipality approved water and electricity tariff increases of 9% and an ave-raged 7.78% respectively. Property rates, sanitation and refuse will increase with 9%, while the environmental management fee will see a hike of 6%.

These tariff increases, that form part of the budget for the 2016/ 2017 financial year, will come into effect on July 1.

Indicative tariffs for the 2017/ 2018 and 2018/ 2019 financial years are set at 6.2% and 5.9% for all services.

Democratic Alliance (DA) councillor, Brenton Williams, says that the approved tariff increases are way ahead of inflation. “We are of the firm belief that the tariff increases, apart from water and electricity over which we have no control, should be set at 6% and not 9% as approved by the ANC. The DA does not support this budget,” says Willliams.

Ward 8 DA councillor David Aldendorff, feels that Wavecrest-residents receiving bore-hole water, should not have to pay the same rate for water as other Kouga residents as they have to deal with brown and undrinkable water on almost a daily basis. They furthermore have to flush their systems regularly to get clean water from their taps - wasting litres of water they end up having to pay for.

According to the approved final budget, the total operating revenue has increased by 8.06% (R47,551 million) for the 2016/ 2017 financial year, compared to the 2015/ 2016 Adjustment Budget.

The total operating expenditure for the 2016/ 2017 financial year amounts to R686,357 million, resulting in a budgeted deficit of R49,182 million. Compared to the previous financial year, operational expenditure increased by 6.62%.

Employee related costs (33.98%), bulk electricity purchases (27.20%), depreciation (12.11%), general expenses (9.87%) and repairs and maintenance (5.24%) account for the major operating expenditure.

Funding for the 2016/ 2017 operating budget is obtained from various sources, the major sources being service charges such as electricity, water, sanitation, environmental management fees and refuse collection (56%), property rates (223.32%), and grants and subsidies received from National and Provincial Governments (15.8%).

The capital budget of R63.069 million for the coming financial year is R41.437 million (39.65%) less than the 2015/ 2016 adjustment budget. The agenda states that the decrease is mainly attributable to a reduction in the grand funded capital projects.

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