|City of Masvingo Acting Town Clerk Edward Mukaratirwa|
MASVINGO— The City of Masvingo has called on residents with outstanding bills to approach the local authority and make payment plans to avoid being disconnected.
There was groundswell of anger and discontent when the city council announced that it was going to disconnect residents with outstanding bills despite the local authority’s failure to provide adequate water supply to residents.
Acting Town Clerk Edward Mukaratirwa said residents should not let their bills balloon but should approach the council and commit to payment plans so that service delivery can run smoothly.
Mukaratirwa said the residents have responded positively to the call for payment plans saying that water will not be disconnected once a payment plan has been agreed on.
“When we said we were going to disconnect residents with arrears there were a lot of cries but we are an open council and open for negotiations.
“Residents should come and make their payment plans. We know some bills have been nursed for far too long and can be difficult to settle at once hence the need for payment plans. The council needs money to operate and that can only be possible if residents play their part.
“I can say that people are responding well to the payment plans and more should come. During the first 6 months, council was in a deficit of $131, 2 million rising from an opening balance of $50, 4 million but after the introduction of the payment plans the revenue collection has increased to more than $6 million from collections dated October 26,” said Mukaratirwa.
The council was under attack from the Masvingo United Residents and Ratepayers Alliance (Murra) who questioned why the local authority was disconnecting water from residents without the provision payment plans.
Murra director Anoziva Muguti said he was grateful towards the payment plan and have encouraged residents to live up to their commitments.
“We are happy the council has responded positively to our calls and now it is up to the residents to approach the council and commit to payment plans.
“Residents should make sure that they honor the agreement. We know residents are facing difficult times in the face of Covid-19 lockdown but they have to commit the little they have towards payment of their bills for services to continue,” said Muguti.
The payment plans stretch to a period of six months.
Government departments are the heaviest debtors with the police, army and prisons owing the council in excess of $30 million.