BY STEPHEN CHADENGA
GWERU City Council has proposed a 30% tariff hike in next year’s budget, which the local authority has since disclosed would be a “standstill budget”.
“In terms of sections 218, 219 and 288 of the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 22:19) notice is hereby given that council has proposed to fix tariffs and charges in relation to 2022 budget estimates.
“The budget is largely a standstill budget,” council said yesterday in a notice to residents.
According to the proposed tariff schedule, shop licence fees have been increased from $2 282 to $2 966, while an application fee for the same rose from $6 520 to $8 476 per year.
Traders, excluding class nine, will have to fork out $25 428 from $19 560 while class nine traders will pay $14 409 from $11 084.
The local authority also proposed to increase burial fees from $1 708 to $2 220 for adult residents who are buried during the week at the municipal cemeteries.
The weekend burial rates for resident adults have been hiked from $3 417 to $4 442 and $8 882 for non-residents.
Children and stillborn babies will be buried at a cost of $1 110 from $854.
Exhumation fees for non-residents have been increased from $14 236 to $18 506 on weekends.
The 2022 budget consultations started yesterday at Town House with residents associations and ward development committees airing their views.
Some residents have, however, rejected the tariff adjustments as unaffordable.
“Tariffs should not be increased. I reject the budget and all contained in it,” one resident commented on the Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association (GRRA) WhatsApp group.
Another resident said the tariff hikes were “already a big burden” to residents.
GRRA director Cornelia Selipiwe said council should have introspected over why residents were failing to pay the current tariffs before proposing a tariff hike.
“The 30% increase is going to be a problem because what is happening is that in the current budget, people are failing to meet its demands,” Silipiwe said.
He said the local authority should have consulted residents rather than impose tariffs that would see it hardly getting meaningful revenue from ratepayers.
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