The City of Cape Town's draft budget for the 2009/10 financial year aims to continue the progress made in achieving the City's goal of infrastructure-led economic growth.
The R23,8 billion draft budget was presented to Council on 30 March 2009, and is open for public comment until 30 April. It can be viewed at public libraries and on the City's website. The final budget will be approved by Council at the end of May, and will be adopted at the start of the next financial year on 1 July 2009.
Executive Mayor Helen Zille said the draft budget "is intended to continue the progress... made over the past three years in establishing a solid platform of infrastructure and services capable of supporting and encouraging economic growth, development and job creation in Cape Town."
She pointed out that the budget is "unquestionably pro-poor," given its focus on poverty alleviation through job creation and economic growth.
The draft budget is made up of a capital budget of R5,5 billion and an operational budget of R18,3 billion.
More than R2 billion of the capital budget will be allocated towards the Utility Services Directorate, which provides basic services such as water and sanitation, electricity and refuse removal.
Other highlights of the capital budget include a R220 million allocation for the development of landfill infrastructure, R199 million for electricity upgrades, R105 million for the Fisantekraal waste water plant and R705 million for the development of the Integrated Rapid Transport system.
"The bulk of the capital budget is aimed at eradicating infrastructure backlogs which developed over the years and which are required to advance economic growth," said Alderman Ian Neilson, Mayoral Committee Member for Finance, Economic & Social Development and Tourism.
The draft budget projects total revenue for 2009/10 at R16,82 billion - an increase of 8.6%.
The increase in residential property rates is proposed at an inflation related 8,5%. All homeowners will continue to receive an R88 000 rebate on properties, whilst agricultural properties could qualify for rebates of up to 80%.
A 33% increase has been proposed for the electricity tariff, which is subject to an assumed 35,9% increase in Eskom tariffs.
Other proposed utility services tariff increases are in line with the current inflation rate. A 10% increase is proposed for water and solid waste fees and a 7% increase for sanitation tariffs.
"To assist people on fixed incomes, we have increased the threshold of rates rebates for senior citizens and disabled people. For a 100% rebate, the City has proposed that the threshold of household income be increased from R2 880 to R3 000 per month. The upper limit on this rebate in being increased from R7 000 to R8 000 per month," said Neilson.
"A 100% subsidy up to 6kl of water per household per month will apply for all domestic tariff categories. Households which do not use more than 400 kWh of electricity per month will receive a free basic allocation of up to 50 kWh.
"Properties valued at R100 000 will continue to receive free refuse removal services. There is a sliding scale of refuse rebates for properties up to R300 000. The first 4,2 kl of water for sewerage disposal is free for all households.
"We urge residents who cannot pay their monthly municipal accounts to register for the City's comprehensive indigent grant,' Neilson said.
Click to view The City of Cape Town's draft budget for the 2009/10 financial year