CHINHOYI Acting Town Clerk Abel Gotora yesterday said council’s debt waiver project had paid off as the majority of residents with huge outstanding bills had taken advantage of the grace period to clear their arrears.
By James Muonwa
Under the programme, residents who paid 30% of their outstanding bills had the remainder written off.
Gotora, who was not at liberty to give figures, however, lamented that the promotion’s target projections had been slightly hampered by the liquidity crunch that is currently bedevilling the economy.
“All in all the promotion was a success, although we as council would have wanted to realise more revenue inflows during this exercise.
“As we speak the finance department is working out how much was accrued during the promotion,” Gotora said, adding council would only resort to punitive measures against “errant” defaulters after fully assessing the situation on the ground.
“Council has deliberately chosen to use friendly ways to recover money owed by residents and ratepayers and would only resort to using other ‘severe, legal and equally permissive’ means after seriously considering factors that could have hampered debtors from paying up.”
In an official statement at the inception of the exercise late last year, council threatened to take punitive action against defaulters after the promotion, including the attachment and auctioning of property.
The clearance promotion covered balances as at July 1 to December 31, 2013 and it enabled schools to remit 15% and corporates 10% of their rates bill balances while individual households were expected to fork out 30% and have the remainder written-off.
This was the second time council rolled out the exercise after another was launched in the first quarter of 2013 and it managed to rake in nearly $500 000.
Turning to the 2014 budget which has been submitted to the parent ministry for approval, Gotora said council was optimistic it would improve service delivery in areas such as the provision of clean, potable water, sewer reticulation, roads rehabilitation and street lighting, among other ancillary services.