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Draft budget tabled for public consultation

THE City’s Draft 2019/2020 Budget of R50.8 billion has been tabled at a Full Council meeting held on 28 March at the Durban City Hall. The budget will be taken to the community for their input and suggestions and will then be adopted at the end of May.

The City’s consolidated R50.8 billion budget attempts to strike a balance between on-going service delivery imperatives and responding to the developmental challenges confronting the City. The draft budget was developed using various principles and benchmarks. These include realistic and achievable collection rates, sustainability, affordability, cost-reflective tariffs, the City’s Integrated Development Plan and to achieve the objectives of the Municipality.

EThekwini Deputy Mayor Fawzia Peer explained the increase in tariffs: “Tariff increases are a result of repairs and maintenance of infrastructure, cost of addressing service delivery backlogs, bulk purchases of water and electricity, the impact of capital spending on operating expenditure and employee related costs.” The capital expenditure of R7.9 billion in 2019/20 is allocated to meeting infrastructure and household services needs and backlogs over the medium term. R3.7 billion of this is directed to new housing developments and interim servicing of informal settlements.

The operating budget, which funds the continued provision of services, increases to R42.9 billion in
2019/20. The rates increase of 6.9 percent is about the lowest in the country, especially when compared to Johannesburg (11.7 percent), and Cape Town (averaging about 9 percent based on their rate randages following a further revaluation) while the electricity tariff increase of 14.4 percent is an indicative increase due to the 15.69 percent increase expected from Eskom. However, should NERSA further review the Eskom increase, the City will also review the tariff. With regards to the water tariff increase of 15 percent for domestic consumers and 15.5 percent for business, which are based on the Umgeni Water Board increase of 9.6 percent and takes into account the additional capital expenditure on water in terms of the rollout of the Western Aqueduct, huge urbanisation increase trends, provision of ablution facilities as well as free basic water.

The sewer tariff has been contained to 9.9 percent despite similar challenges to water in terms of increased service delivery demands, capital expenditure, ablution blocks and additional servicing of pit latrines. The 9.9 percent refuse tariff increase is due to additional areas being serviced, additional cleaning of the beachfront, central business district and townships, hence the increase above consumer price index could not be avoided.

Councillor Peer appealed to residents to continue to utilise water sparingly and also encouraged residents to attend budget consultations. The draft budget will be taken to the community for their input and suggestions and will then be adopted at the end of May. Details of venues and dates will be advertised soon.

WEATHER

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