MASVINGO - Businesses that have been leasing properties of Masvingo City Council over the past year are struggling to pay their monthly rentals with money owed to council now standing at US$135 908.38.
In 2015, city fathers reached a resolution to lease out some of its properties, mainly council bars, which were making an average loss of US$11 000 per month.
TellZim News is reliably informed that council has since decided to reduce the rentals on condition that debtors sign debt acknowledgements and draw acceptable payment plans for outstanding debts.
"The Deputy Director of Housing and Community Services reported that the prevailing harsh economic climate had put serious challenges on tenants leasing council properties regarding payment of rentals hence need to review rentals downwards since it made no economic sense to continue raising bills which are not sustainable," reads part of recent council minutes.
Of the 14 properties being leased, Kubatana Preschool is the biggest debtor owing US50, 069.31 while Caravan Park follows at US$23, 009.44.
Sunshine Day Care Centre owes US$18, 036.31 while Chiwororo Beerhall owes US$13, 162.00 with Manhede Beer hall following at US$10, 899.31.
Businesses that owe the least money are First Funeral, Compass Pvt Ltd, Lot 19 Car Park, Sarudzai Beerhall, Lot 37 Car Park, Rujeko Crime Consultative (ZRP) and Lot 45 Car Park owing US9078.93, US$8,280.19; US$1,164.00; US$1,391.24; US$380; US$255.64; US$192 respectively.
With no arrears are Lot 27 Car Park and Farai Beerhall which has no tenant.
If a newly proposed Finance and General Purposes Committee resolution passes, the new rental structures will stand as follows: Caravan Park from US$2 800 to US$1 400; Chiwororo Beerhall from US$1 700 to US$1 000, Manhede Beerhall from US$2 200 to US$1 200; Sarudzai Beerhall from US$3 000 to US$ 1 500 and Farai Beerhall from US$3 000 to U$1 500 per month.
Sunshine Day Care Centre will have their rentals reduced from US$ 900 to US$500; First Funeral from US$1 000 to US$500; Kubatana Pre-School from US$500 to US$250; Rujeko Consultative Committee from US$250 to US$200 and Compass Pvt Ltd from US$300 to US$200.
Indications are that the problematic People's Shop lease will not be renewed while rentals for all car parks will be reduced to a uniform US$200 per month.news