BY STEPHEN CHADENGA
GWERU City Council has said defaulting residents have delayed plans to raise $5 million required to kick-start the construction of two fire sub-stations in Mkoba and Senga suburbs.
Speaking at a Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association-organised service delivery engagement meeting last week, finance committee chairperson Martin Chivhoko said the money collected in the fire levy account was not enough to start the project.
“The problem is that residents have not been co-operating in paying rates. The money collected for the levy has been insignificant to start the construction of the two fire sub-stations,” Chivhoko said.
“The debtors’ bill is now around $800 million and you can imagine the amount of money we are owed by ratepayers.
“We can only implement some of these projects if residents also play their part and pay.”
However, residents blamed the local authority for failing to establish the fire sub-stations two years after the levy was introduced.
Council introduced the fire charge first as $5 per household in 2019 and increased it to between $36 and $210 for households and industries respectively in the following year.
The target was to collect at least $5 million by May last year, but only about $65 000 accumulated in the account before the money was eroded by inflation.
The two sub-stations were to enable firefighters to timeously respond to emergencies.
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