BY STEPHEN CHADENGA
GWERU city council proposed a 30% tariff increase in next year’s budget, which the local authority has since revealed to be a “standstill budget”.

“Pursuant to Sections 218, 219 and 288 of the City Councils Act (Chapter 22:19), notice is hereby given that the council has proposed to fix the rates and charges against the 2022 budget estimate.

“The budget is largely a standstill budget,” city council said yesterday in a notice to residents.

Under the proposed fee schedule, the store license fee has increased from $ 2,282 to $ 2,966, while the application fee has increased from $ 6,520 to $ 8,476 per year.

Merchants, except for class nine, will have to shell out $ 25,428 starting at $ 19,560 while merchants in class nine will pay $ 14,409 starting at $ 11,084.

The local authority also proposed to increase burial costs from $ 1,708 to $ 2,220 for adult residents who are buried during the week in municipal cemeteries.

Weekend burial rates for adult residents have been increased from $ 3,417 to $ 4,442 and from $ 8,882 for non-residents.

Children and stillborn babies will be buried at a cost of $ 1,110 to $ 854.

Exhumation costs for non-residents have increased from $ 14,236 to $ 18,506 on weekends.

Consultations on the 2022 budget began yesterday at Town House with residents’ associations and neighborhood development committees expressing their views.

Some residents, however, dismissed the fare adjustments as unaffordable.

“The prices should not be increased. I reject the budget and everything in it, ”commented a resident of the Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association (GRRA) WhatsApp group.

Another resident said the rate hikes were “already a big burden” on residents.

GRRA director Cornelia Selipiwe said the council should have considered why residents were not paying the current rates before proposing a rate hike.

“The 30% increase is going to be a problem because what is happening is that in the current budget people are not responding to its demands,” Silipiwe said.

He said the local authority should have consulted with residents rather than imposing tariffs that would barely earn it significant revenue from taxpayers.

Follow Stéphane on Twitter @ jagganox78



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