Kouga Municipality will start its new financial year on a high note following the unanimous approval of the new budget by the Council yesterday last week.
It is the first time in the history of the municipality that its annual budget was approved unopposed and without conditions.
The municipality’s new five-year Integrated Development Plan (IDP) was also approved unanimously at the same meeting.
Kouga Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen commended councillors for setting aside their political differences in the interest of communities.
“This is the first budget to be compiled since the new DA-led Council was inaugurated in August 2016.
“We wanted it to be a unifying document, hence an open and transparent process was followed, with ample opportunity for all councillors, communities and stakeholder groups to provide input,” she said.
“We are pleased that our efforts paid off and that the budget for 2017/2018 can be implemented with the full support of all parties.”
ANC Whip Malibongwe Dayimani said his party had had some concerns about the budget, but that they were able to resolve these through the consultative processes.
“We will, however, be keeping a close eye on the implementation of the budget and will not hesitate to hold the governing party accountable should we pick up problems such as the performance bonuses,” he said.
In terms of the approved budget the total operating revenue for 2017/2018 is R684,339 million, which represents an increase of 7,03 % when compared to the 2016/17 adjustments budget.
Funding for the budget will be obtained from various sources but primarily from service charges such as electricity, water, sanitation, the Environmental Management Fee (EMF) and refuse collection (54.08 %), property rates (23,46 %), grants and subsidies from national and provincial government (16,69%).
The following tariff increases were approved:
· Property rates 8%
· Water 9,5%
· Sanitation 9%
· Refuse 9%
· Electricity (average increase in income) 2,05%
· EMF 6%