Residents have reacted with mixed feelings to the proposed $160 million Bulawayo city council (BCC) 2019 budget.
If approved, the 2019 budget will increase by $8 million from the 2018 budget which stands at $152 million.
For the first time in three years, the local authority has proposed tariff increases, a situation which is likely to face resistance from the residents.
Under the proposed budget, residents in high-density suburbs will pay $20 in rates per household up from $17 per household.
Mr. Thembalami Zondo, a resident from Iminyela hailed the proposed budget, saying it will improve service delivery.
”It is a fair budget that will help in refuse collection and most importantly dealing with sewer leakages that we are experiencing every now and then,” he said.
“I support this budget as a proposal that will take council somewhere, especially with regards to refuse collection.”
Another resident, Adam Vundla said the proposed bill for high -density residents were very high considering the economic situation in the country.
“Most residents are not settling their bill because they cannot afford the rates,” said Vundla.
“The most affected are pensioners because they are getting little. It’s not that people are not willing to settle their bills, they just do not have the money”.
Vundla said residents were already struggling to pay the current rates and an upward adjustment would further compound their situation.
Ward 13 councillor Frank Javangwe defended the proposed budget saying it was going to capacitate the cash-strapped council in order to facilitate improved service delivery.
“I support this budget as a proposal that will take council somewhere, especially with regards to building toilets for every household in Mabuthweni and Iminyela,” he said.
The local authority is currently embarking on budget consultation meetings with various stakeholders to get their views on the proposed 2019 budget.