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Subcouncils scramble to balance the books

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Subcouncils scramble to balance the books

by Christelle Smalberger and Petro Kotze
11 Jun 2008
Peoples Post
Peoples Post

SUBCOUNCILS are once again feeling the pressure to spend the last of their allocated budgets as the end of the financial year draws to a close on Monday, 30 June.

The Protea Subcouncil (which includes Mowbray, Rosebank, Rondebosch, Claremont, Kenilworth, Newlands, sections of Table Mountain National Park, Bishopscourt, Constantia, Plumstead, Wynberg, Bergvliet, Diep River and Meadowridge) had spent 54% of its total allocated budget of almost R40 million by the end of last month, compared to 68% in the previous year.

A significant project undertaken by the council is the upgrade of the taxi rank in Claremont. More than R15 million had been budgeted for this project, but only about R8,5 million had been spent by the end of last month.

Chief Financial Officer Mike Richardson says that the project is under construction but significantly behind schedule due to a increase in the scope of the work. In addition, only R1,7  million of the allocated R9,5 million budgeted for the Diep River Main Road culvert had been spent by the end of last month. Richardson says this project is "under construction but progressing slower than expected".

None of the money budgeted for the landscaping of Claremont or the Gabriel Road housing development had been spent.

According to Richardson, landscaping work has been delayed due to contractor resource constraints and delays in finalising designs. Delays in the contract have directly affected expenditure.

Regarding the housing development, Richardson says that though the project is near completion, funds are not yet reflected on the report. City Parks also has unspent funds - this includes R12 400 allocated to tree planting in Rondebosch Park as well as R11 600 for general tree planting.

According to Felix Barends, technical and operational manager for City Parks, these trees will be planted within the next two to three weeks.

A request to roll over an allocated R10 850 for the upgrade of parks in Harfield Village to the 2008/2009 financial year will apparently be made by subcouncil manager Owen Kinahan.

As far as R75 000 not yet spent on irrigation and a compost bin in Ward 59 is concerned, Barends says an order is expected soon.

R52 295 of an allocated R80 000 has been spent on upgrading Maynardville, and a decision has yet to be made about the remaining R27 702.

According to Barends, R418 702 has been assigned for the upgrade of Plumstead cemetery, all of which will be spent by the end of this month. For the next financial year's budget, R800 000 was initially allocated to projects of an operating nature - which entails maintenance projects rather than new ones - and R1 200 000 allocated to projects of a capital nature, says Richardson.

Among the bigger capital projects is the upgrade of parks in Ward 58, for which R200 000 has been allocated. A further R80 000 has been allocated for the construction of a skateboard bowl in the greenbelt along the canal.

Projects approved for operating expenditure include the Graffiti Project (the removal of unwanted graffiti) for which R180 000 has been allocated, and the Street People Project, for which R120 000 has been allocated.

Kinahan said that while the operating budget would not roll over to the next financial year, capital expenditure would.

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