Kouga Municipality’s pro-poor budget and tariffs for the 2022/2023 financial year, starting July 1, were approved by Council on Tuesday, May 31.
This despite challenges such as maintaining an acceptable employee-related cost ratio, curtailing electricity and water losses at acceptable levels and increasing cost associated with bulk electricity purchases.
The total budget – including operational and capital budget – amounts to R1,2 billion.
“The major operating expenditure items for 2022/2023 are employee-related costs (33.62%%), bulk electricity purchases (28%), other expenditure (10.14%), depreciation (8.92%), and debt impairment (3.61%),” said Kouga Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks.
The following increases in property rates and service charges have been approved:
- Property rates: 5.25% (residential properties)
- Water: 7%
- Sanitation: 7%
- Refuse: 7%
- Electricity: 8.61% (average increase in electricity income)
- Environmental management fee: 7%
Hendricks said that the municipality had kept tariff increases as low as is possible.
“In some instances, especially when it comes to electricity, this proved to be a challenge, with Eskom increasing its bulk tariff to municipalities, he said.
A large part of the capital budget would go towards waste management, including:
- The upgrade of the sanitation system in Old Hankey (R18.4 million)
- New bypass sewer rising main and pump station in Jeffreys Bay (R1.2 million)
- The upgrade of sewer rising mains at Jeffreys Bay (R900 000)
- The upgrade of the Loerie pump station (R418 000)
“I am excited to report that the tarring of gravel roads in Kouga is surging ahead with close to R7 million budgeted for the new financial year,” said Hendricks.
“A further R10 million will be spent on the resealing of roads across the region. Some R715 000 will be spent on securing the power supply to Jeffreys Bay through the construction of new overhead lines from the Melkbos Station.
“The dire need for this was highlighted some seven years ago when the town was left without electricity for three days in the middle of the festive season after a section of the old lines collapsed.”
According to Hendricks, a further R1 million would be spent on upgrading the substation at Saffery Street to help stabilise the supply to Humansdorp.
“Over R350 000 has been budgeted for 2022/23 to replace old water pipes at St Francis Bay, while more than R500 000 will be spent to repair the water tower at Paradise Beach, to help minimise water losses,” said Hendricks.
“The municipality is in the process of negotiating a R100 million loan to assist in addressing the drought and water security interventions.
“The public participation process on the loan will be commencing in due course.”
He continued that a total of R4.5 million from the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) would go towards the upgrade of sports facilities and public amenities in 2022/23, while R400 000 would be spent on the construction of mini fresh food and craft markets in Jeffreys Bay and Hankey.