Swakopmund council tables ambitious budget

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Swakopmund – Numerous ambitious projects are in the pipeline for the Swakopmund Town Council during the 2015/16 financial year. A capital budget of N$125 million, of which N$61.6 milllion is earmarked for new projects, was last week tabled in council chambers.

However, the good tidings of the long overdue projects of which some have already started, or are awaiting council’s green light, did have a sobering moment when it was declared that Swakopmund residents and the business community face a price hike in basic services.

Hikes include a 7.5% water tariff increase for 60m3 and above, sewerage 20%, refuse removal 7.5%, town halls 10% and bungalows up to 12%. New basic tariffs for senior citizens are N$66.10 for basic refuse removal and N$118.50 for basic sewerage

The announcement was made by the chairperson of the management committee Rosina //Hoabes. She said efficient service delivery in a town with so many projects has become a challenge for council, which needs to be supported by sufficient financial resources.

It was also said that the main objective of the town’s annual budgetary process is to improve on service delivery as well as maintain and upgrade  infrastructure in which the council has invested millions over the years.

Also, that it is assumed that the deficit of N$2.5 million through financial control measures and additional revenue will be transformed into a surplus come June 30 2016.

It was anticipated that in addition to the price hikes, sales transactions from the lively property sector will generate sufficient revenue for the council to be in a more favourable position to finance projects anticipated for 2015/2016.

The projects mentioned include, among others, making available affordable serviced land and formalisation of the DRC – an undertaking that will stretch over the next two financial years. Funds have also been made available from the central government for this purpose.

Provision amounting to N$23.7 million is for completion of the planned multi-purpose centre in Mondesa including its furnishings, and it is anticipated that the centre will be completed by the end of November.

In addition, the museum and Woermann House and other public buildings belonging to the council will be renovated.

The re-location of the entire midblock sewerage system in Mondesa/Tamariskia is on the cards for N$12.2 million, which is also aimed at improving the living standards of people living there. Funding of N$19 million is earmarked as part of the capital required to complete the sewage plant for the three blocks, and while the new sewerage system is fully operational, the old one will need to be maintained as well.

A big chunk of N$13.5 million was allocated to future planning of serviced land for further development of the town, while N$16.3 million is included in the budget for the resurfacing of streets and roads in Swakopmund.

“This results in employment creation on Council’s part which is part of the overall objective of poverty eradication, and is worth applauding in light of the difficult economic conditions many people face, which is why it should be noted that streets to be resurfaced will be prioritised by Council,” stated //Hoabes.

“Come the 1st July, 2015, I would like Council to ensure that applicable tenders be awarded in time to ensure that projects we have embarked upon for this financial year will reach our vision for completion by 30 June, 2016,” she added.

by Donna Collins

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