Buffalo City Metro ratepayers should brace themselves for tariff increases next month.
This is when the 2017-2018 financial year starts.
This comes after BCM executive mayor Xola Pakati’s 2017-18 integrated development plan (IDP) review, medium-term revenue and expenditure framework (MTREF) and built environment performance plan (BEPP) report was approved in the last council meeting two weeks ago.
Pakati said due to economic adversities experienced by residents and in an attempt to relieve “growing poverty” BCM kept the tariff increases to a single digit percentage increase on property rates and all services.
“On property rates the increase has been set at 9.6% for the 2017-18 financial year, the increase is decreased to 8.5% in 2018-19 and it is further reduced to 8% in the 2019-20,” said Pakati in the report.
The rate for refuse removal has been increased by 9.8% for 2017-18, with a projected increase for the following financial years expected to be 8.7% and 8.6%.
Pakati said water and electricity losses remained a concern.
“For water service the tariff increases are projected at 9%, 8.1% and 8% over the 2017-18 MTREF period respectively. On electricity, an increase of 1.88% is proposed over the MTREF period in line with the Nersa (National Energy Regulator of SA) guideline.
“The sewerage tariff increase has also been kept below double digit percentage increase.
“It is projected to increase 9.8% for the 2017-18 financial year and this increase is reduced to 8.7% and 8.6% in the two other years,” Pakati added.
He said BCM strove to ensure that the tariffs were in line with the services provided.
However, East London Ratepayers Association secretary Christo Theart lambasted the metro, saying it failed to take water and electricity meter readings on a monthly basis as stipulated by its own by-laws.
“To increase the tariffs for these services and to do the jobs are two different things. They don’t do the job. What they do with the money collected is another thing.
“They don’t read the meters as their by-laws state they should. They simply charge you whatever they want to charge you.”
Theart said they attended the IDP roadshows and they made no objections as they believed the increases were reasonable.
Pakati said the city’s revenue base was not at the required level and he blamed this on the high density of rural areas that are part of the metro.
A report tabled before the council in April also painted a gloomy picture of the metro’s revenue collection.
By April, BCM had managed to collect only 87.4% compared to the same period in the previous financial year, when it collected 91.7% of its revenue.