The Kouga Council approved the municipality’s operating and capital budgets for the new financial year at a meeting on 31 May.
Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks said Council’s aim had been to table a pro-poor budget and that great strides had been made towards achieving this. The municipality’s new financial year starts on 1 July.
In terms of the new budget consumers can expect to pay 7,5% more for property rates from July.
The tariffs for water will increase by 11%, sanitation by 9%, refuse collection by 8%, electricity by an average of 7,57% and the Environmental Management Fee (EMF) by 6%.
- The total operating expenditure for 2018/2019 will amount 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.
- Funding for the operating budget will 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 new budget makes provision for staff costs of R 272,8 million. This amounts to 34,24 % of the total operating expenditure, well within the norm set by National Treasury.
- Repairs and maintenance for the 2018/19 year is budgeted at R37-million, equating to 4,65 % of the total operating budget. While this percentage is below Council’s target of 8%, the money will go where it is needed most, with at least 71% of the allocation to be spent on infrastructure assets.
MAYOR LEADS IN COST-CUTTING
Kouga Mayor Horatio Hendricks has vowed to cut back on “lavish spending” to maximise the funding available for service delivery.
Delivering his maiden budget speech, Hendricks said that he and the Speaker would not be receiving new vehicles or drivers.
“The Mayor will drive his own car, the Speaker will drive his own car and there will be no bodyguards,” he said.
“I have also reduced the number of Mayoral Committee members from six to five so as save money and bring about a lean but more effective committee.”
Every effort will be made to secure additional funding to continue upgrading infrastructure and expanding services to all communities.
This was said by Kouga Mayor Horatio Hendricks at the tabling of the 2018/2019 municipal budget.
The Mayor said unused and underutilized land had already been identified and that plans for its sale were in place to secure extra money for development.
A Revenue Enhancement Committee has further been established and will be meeting weekly to identify and implement ways to boost the municipality’s income without placing undue burden on residents and ratepayers.
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.
“I must also emphasise that, for the first time in many years, this current local government is using own revenue and adding that to grant funding to boost our capital delivery to ensure we drive a pro-poor budget,” Kouga Mayor Horatio Hendricks said.
SEA VISTA WASTE WATER TREATMENT WORKS
The biggest project on the capital budget is the multi-year upgrade of the Sea Vista Waste Water Treatment Works, where the municipality will be spending R18,5 million in the 2018/19 year.
The upgrade will put in place the bulk infrastructure needed to unlock the building of new RDP houses in the area.
The Kouga Council has vowed to prioritise the eradication of the bucket system over the next three years.
Mayor Horatio Hendricks said this was the highest priority in the municipality’s Integrated Development Plan (IDP) and a great concern to the Council.
“More than 4 000 Kouga households still rely on bucket toilets. This is unacceptable, and we will be launching a multi-year programme in 2018/19 to eradicate the system, with R2,3-million being allocated for the first year of implementation.
“This fight will continue in the outer years of our budget and it will remain the number one priority for this municipality until every bucket is removed and burned, never to be used again.”
BETTERING LIVES IN INFORMAL AREAS
Illegal electricity connections are but one of the many challenges in our informal settlements that need urgent attention. It presents an imminent and present danger to families and especially vulnerable children.
The Kouga Council intends to eliminate the threat of illegal electricity gradually over the next three years.
“Illegal connections present an imminent and present danger to families and especially vulnerable children,” said Kouga Mayor Horatio Hendricks.
“That is why we will be using R1-million of our own funding to install power at illegal electricity hot spots in addition to the R8,8-million we have received through the INEP-grant for the electrification of current and future housing projects.”
A further R500 000 has been budgeted for extra stand pipes and the upgrading of roads in informal settlements. We have also already purchased 700 wheelie bins to improve refuse collection in these areas.”
Kouga Municipality will be spending R1,5-million on boreholes in the new financial year.
Mayor Horatio Hendricks said achieving water security for all communities was a serious concern because of the prolonged drought.
“We have made great strides this past year in sinking 10 boreholes and delivering 70 rainwater tanks to strategic places in the Gamtoos Valley.
“With dam levels critically low, we would like to appeal to all residents to keep their usage to 50 litres per person per day,” he said.
OTHER CAPITAL HIGHLIGHTS
- The development of two cemetery cites at Loerie and Thornhill.
- In order to combat vandalism and sabotage, R3-million has been set aside for the fencing of the Loerie pump station, Jeffreys Bay and Kruisfontein reservoirs, cemeteries, caravan parks and camping sites.
- R4,3-million has been budgeted for the upgrading and fencing of sports fields, with the emphasis on Wards 1 and 2.
- R 6,5 million will further be used to replace fleet that is no longer functional.