The Executive Mayor, Charles Standers with pride tabled the draft Medium Term Revenue Framework Budget for the financial year 2016/17 at the third council meeting for 2016 held on Thursday last week which was unanimously adopted by the full Council.
The municipality faces growing pressure from both the rising cost of bulk services and the rapidly growing number of households in George and the balancing of this budget proved to be a challenging and difficult process.
Tariff increases are set by taking into account the current economic climate and In order to balance the budget. The following percentage tariff increases are proposed:
Property Rates 7%;
and Refuse Removal 9%.
The tariffs listed above reflect the costs associated with rendering of the service, including capital, operating, maintenance, administration and replacement costs.
The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) has granted Eskom a 9.4% tariff increase for the 2016/17 financial year and which will be applicable only to those consumers receiving their electricity directly from ESKOM. Consumers in George and most surrounding areas who receive their electricity from the George Municipality will only be affected by the proposed 7.64% tariff increase for municipal electricity for the 2016/17 financial year, as from 1 July 2016.
In line with the Domestic Workers minimum wage which has increased by 19% during the past two years, a ticket increase for the GO GEORGE bus system has also been proposed. Tickets bought off the bus at vendors will cost an additional R0.50 therefore R9.00 one way. For tickets bought on board the bus there is a proposed increase to R10.00 per ticket and the multi-journey ticket which currently costs R75 will sell for R85 for 10 trips. The GO GEORGE fares have not increased since services were introduced in 2014.
Various key changes have been proposed to the Municipal Indigent Policy with the income threshold increased from R3000 to R3500 per month for indigent households. Backyard dwellers have also been addressed and where the owner and the backyard dwelling qualify for indigent support, an allowance of 12kl of water has been proposed per residential property. Another proposal is that residential properties valued at R150 000 and under will receive a 100% rates rebate.
The Draft Budget reflects a proposed capital budget of R221,5 million for 2016/17; R401,5 million for 2017/18 and R341,9 million for 2018/19. Funding sources for the capital budget for 2016/17 will be generated from grant funding (R162,754 million), CRR internal generated funds (R52,167 million) and the loan funded vehicle acquisition of R6,615 million will be rolled over to 2016/17. The operating budget is set at a Total Revenue of R1,645 billion and the total Expenditure at R1,612 billion.
The draft IDP and Budget documents are now available for the public participation process and can be viewed at all libraries and on the municipal website www.george.org.za The IDP and Budget feedback public participation meetings start on 12 April - 26th April with a meeting held in each of the 25 wards. Community members are encouraged to attend their ward IDP and Budget Feedback meeting in order to provide comments on IDP and Budget related issues. Comment on the draft budget closes on 6th April 2016.
The final budget will be tabled in May 2016 and approved tariff increases will come into effect as of 1 July 2016.
Last published 11 April 2016