Kouga Council approves draft budget unamimously

KOUGA Municipality’s cash-backed draft budget and tariffs for the 2021/2022 financial year, starting July 1, were approved unanimously by Council on Tuesday, March 31.

This despite challenges such as maintaining an acceptable employee related cost ratio, curtailing electricity and water losses at acceptable levels and increases cost associated with bulk electricity purchases.

Kouga Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks, said that every effort had been made to ensure that the budget was pro poor and fully funded.

The total draft budget amounts to just over R1 billion, of which just over R1 074 million is for the operating budget and R61 million is for the capital budget of the municipality.

“The operating budget will be funded from various sources, the major contributors being property rates (22.65%), bulk electricity (34.61%), sanitation (6.07%) and refuse (5.77%),” said Hendricks.

The total operating expenditure for the 2021/2022 financial year amounts to just over R1 074 million, with the major operating expenditure items being employee-related costs at over R378 million (35,24%) and bulk electricity purchase at over R290 million (26.99%).

In order to fund the operating budget, the following increases in property rates and service charges were approved, with effect from 1 July 2021:

Property rates: 5.25%
Water: 7.1%
Sanitation: 6.5%
Refuse: 6.5%
Electricity: 14.59%
Environmental Management Fee: 0%

Hendricks said that the municipality had kept tariff increases as low as is possible.

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“In some instances, especially when it comes to electricity, this proved to be a challenge, with Eskom increasing its bulk tariff to municipalities, he said.

“R10 million was set aside to cater for the ongoing road resealing project throughout Kouga – including Tokyo Sexwale and Pellsrus. The upgrading of gravel roads received a budget of R14.2 million.

“The Sea Vista Sports Field in St Francis Bay will, furthermore, be upgraded at a cost of R4.1 million this year, while the sanitation system in Hankey will be upgraded to the tune of R9.2 million.

“Other projects include the electrification of RDP houses at a cost of R6.7 million.”

Kouga Speaker, Hattingh Bornman, said, “Members of the ANC refused to comply with the Rules of Order and decided to leave the meeting at own will.

“We will continue to provide excellent services for all communities and build on previous successes in the next financial year.”

Photo: Clive Wright

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