Whilst the Democratic Alliance has objected to the proposed rates increase saying it need not be more than 6%, the ANC dominated Kouga Municipal Council has proposed a 9% increase.
Council has proposed a 9% increase on property rates, sanitation and refuse whilst water, also at 9%, is unavoidable as water is supplied by Nelson Mandela Bay metro. An interesting tax is the environmental tax to be set at 6% for one must wonder if in fact any of these funds are actually used for environmental purposes. Electricity at 7.5%.
By far the biggest expenditure item is the annual wage bill set at R233 million which is significantly more than the R148 million collected from property rates. Considering Kouga has some 19 councillors surely this could be trimmed. Interestingly Sydney with a population of over 4-million has 10 councillors including the Lord Mayor whilst Los Angeles with a population of 3.9 -million having just 15. (Note: Los Angeles County has a population of over 10-million but the city has only 3.9- million souls). New York with a population of over 8-million spread through five boroughs, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, The Bronx, and Staten Island, has 51 councillors, roughly 10 per borough. Makes one wonder!
Capital expenditure for the year is proposed at around R68 million which the DA feels is far too low for all the infrastructural problems facing the area. Considering St Francis Bay’s capital expenditure needs alone one would have to agree that the DA certainly seem more in touch than those who control the budget.
Total income revenue is being budgeted at R638 million with expenditure at approximately R686 million, a shortfall of roughly R48 million. Considering the budget cuts announced by Finance Minister Pravin Gordham in his budget speech in February it seems unlikely that there will be much assistance from the national purse to make up any deficits.
Hopefully the community will have opportunity for comment and input in the coming days.