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Vic Falls residents want rates slashed

By Judith Sibanda 

VICTORIA Falls Residents Association (VFRA) has lobbied for the slashing of rates and street light levies to alleviate the plight of residents whose income has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.  

The residents’ plea follows an announcement by the city council’s that starting this Tuesday will hold consultative meetings to garner the residents’ views on the proposed supplementary budget.

The local authority has argued that its $1.3 billion 2021 budget is no longer sufficient.

VFRA chairperson Kelvin Moyo said most residents in the city were struggling to pay their bills as they mostly rely on the tourism sector which was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Even though we appreciate that these budgets are done to usher in smooth sailing in service delivery, we, however, feel concerned about the timing that it is put,” Moyo said. 

“We are almost due for another budget consultative meeting for 2022, and we don’t know what will happen given that many in the tourism sector were negatively affected by Covid-19.

“People’s disposable incomes were eroded and many lost their jobs so I would like to urge the residents and stakeholders to attend these meetings and deliberate and articulate the real issues regarding the rates and tariffs that will enable both parties to attain a win-win situation.

Moyo, however, urged residents to come up with proposals that will not cripple service delivery.

“In our discussions ahead of the consultative meetings, we suggested lobbying for freezing of interest rates on bills, lowering of estimates for water charges as some of our houses here have no water meters and together with slashing significantly the residential plans fees together with suspension of street lights levies and all other levies that are being billed to people without provision of such services.”

Apart from resident’s pleas, tourism industry players also expressed concern over some rates imposed by the local council arguing they were beyond reach. 

Council said the meetings will be held at ward level from this Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday under strict Covid-19 regulations.

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