…as Zesa abdicates duty
In its proposed 2021 budget, the City of Masvingo intends to introduce a public lighting levy, a fund which the local authority says will be used to repair and refurbish the public lighting infrastructure in the city.
The public lighting levy will be attached to the water bills and each household will be billed $90 in local currency effective January 2021.
The city council says that there is an agreement in place which compels the power utility Zesa to maintain the city’s public lighting infrastructure but says has since abdicated on the duty.
“While there is an agreement that placed an obligation of Zesa to maintain the city’s public lighting infrastructure, Zesa has not been forthcoming in honoring this obligation and the agreement has become a subject of dispute,” reads part of the budget proposal.
There has been calls from residents for council to fix the public lighting system as theft cases were on the rise with thieves taking advantage of the darkness.
“While a solution is being sought, council believes that measures have to be taken to ensure that the security of our residents does not continue to be compromised through lack of functional public functional systems.
“In this regard, we propose to introduce a new billing item of public lighting with effect from January 2021 at a rate of $90.
“This fund will be ring fenced to cater for materials required in the maintenance and installation of our public lighting infrastructure,” reads the budget proposal.
The city council also proposes to introduce the fire and rescue services levy aimed at equipping the fire and rescue department.
“Council realizes that this disaster and emergency response section has become significantly incapacitated in terms of equipment and resources. In order to improve the efficiency of this section in responding to emergencies such as natural disasters, fire and road traffic accidents, we propose to introduce a dedicated funding line with an initial proposal of $90 per month per account.
“The funds received in this regard will be ring fenced and utilized to procure equipment and other emergency response materials such as personal protective clothing.
“This amount will adjust at 50% per quarter should inflationary developments call for such adjustments,” reads the proposed budget.