MOSSEL BAY NEWS - With the country’s economy still in a stage of recovery after the significant decline across all sectors, "sustainability is key".
This was emphasised by acting executive mayor of Mossel Bay, Alderman Dirk Kotzé, when he presented the annual budget on 1 April.
"As Mossel Bay is very much dependent on its commercial, industrial and tourism sectors, challenges can be expected for industries trying to bounce back after Covid-19," he said.
Even though the municipality experienced a slight drop in consumers' payment rate around July 2020, he was grateful to consumers for settling their municipal accounts timeously and diligently. There are minimal increases in tariffs for the 2021/22 financial year, he said
Kotzé added that this adjustment could be maintained in the future to ensure continued service delivery.
Much of the total Operational Budget - almost 80% thereof - is made up of the bulk purchases of electricity, the cost of purified water, debt impairment and depreciation charges, employee-related cost, and the remuneration of councillors.
The proposed tariff increases for the 2021/22 Budget year are as follows:
- The proposed electricity tariff increase - in line with the NERSA tariff guideline - is 14.59%.
- It is important to note that the basic charges for commercial customers were not increased, as was the case in the previous year's budget.
- Property rates as well as all other service charges are proposed to increase by 5.5%.
The budget provides for R 1 363 936 094 for the operational budget, whilst the capital budget of R 241 084 372 tabled is funded by R 123 229 591 of own funding; R 30 300 000 of new borrowings, and R 87 554 781 of grants and donations.
To date, the Mossel Bay Municipality has received merely R 268 000 of Disaster Management grant funding and R14m out of the Equitable share by the National Government to address Covid-19.
In turn, R 650 000 was received from the Provincial Government.
Relief measures for households
The normal credit control measures to get residential households in the safety net for assistance still exist. This safety net is in the form of indigent household subsidies and the rebate subsidies to pensioners.
These measures are not limited only to certain people or groups of the community, but available to all residents who are negatively affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
An additional provision was made for the number of indigent households by increasing the number of households by 20%. An additional provision was also made for the number of pensioners that will be able to apply for pensioner rebates.
Indigent households will again receive the benefit of discounts on basic service charges such as water, electricity, refuse removal, sanitation, and property rates.
The two levels of Indigent Subsidy are specifically developed to provide economic relief to those in the community who really need it. This relief is also extended to households including a person(s) with a disability, should they comply with the necessary, and specified criteria.
Subsidies to indigent households:
2020/21 Indigent Level 1 Household R 683.32 (Incl. VAT) 2021/22 R 776.08 (Incl. VAT)
2020/21 Indigent Level 2 Household R 341.66 (Incl. VAT) 2021/22 R 388.04 (Incl. VAT)
2020/21 Households that house a person with a disability R 683.32 (Incl. VAT) 2021/22 R 776.08 (Incl. VAT)
The criteria on which the subsidies are based are described in the tariff list under paragraph 6.
"The municipality has not forgotten the plight of our pensioners and has provided for a pensioner discount on both the Property Rates and the Sewage Charges," Kotzé says.
The Salary and Wage Collective Agreement for the period 1 July 2018 to 31 June 2020 has come to an end and a new agreement is under consultation. In the absence of a new Salary and Wage Collective Agreement, Mossel Bay Municipality has provided for an increase of 6.5%.
A salary adjustment of 6.5%, with normal notch increases and the filling of vacant positions, amounts to an increase in the employee-related cost of 8.8%.
"We once again would like to convey our gratitude to all our consumers who have diligently paid their municipal accounts monthly.
"Should consumers be unable to meet their obligations to the municipality, they should immediately engage with the municipality to make the necessary arrangements to settle outstanding accounts.
"This arrangement is applicable for residential, commercial and industrial consumers.
"We believe that, as the sphere of government that is closest to the people, the municipality carries the profound obligation to respond directly, immediately and positively to the needs and challenges of our stakeholders and communities," concluded Kotzé.
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