Kwekwe mayor Shadreck Tobaiwa has disclosed that his council is owed $19 million in unpaid rates, adding the debt had negatively affected its service delivery.
Tobaiwa told NewsDay the local authority was now struggling to pay its workforce and to finance other crucial capital projects like the rehabilitation of its water plant.
We are facing serious challenges with our debts that need to be paid. Zesa has handed us over to its lawyers and are demanding payment, the same applies to Zinwa and TelOne. We are left with no choice, but to force those who owe us to pay up, said Tobaiwa.
Council owes Zesa $3,2 million, Zinwa $890 145, TelOne $82 709 and Zimra $25 762, among other debts.
Meanwhile council workers were demanding a pay rise which would see the councils wage bill go up by $60 000 from the current $478 000, he said.
Last year, council had to borrow $85 000 from its education fund to clear a $130 000 bank overdraft that had accumulated after the payment of December salaries.
Workers have threatened to go on strike if their demands are not addressed urgently.
Finance committee chairperson Queenly Chitopo told NewsDay council had resolved to intensify debt collection in order to stay afloat.
Those who are not paying are affecting those who do. It is clearly unfair and this is why as council we need to intensify our debt collection methods to ensure service is not affected, she said.