High utility bills vex GCC

Number- crunching: GCC in session
Number- crunching: GCC in session

The Gaborone City Council (GCC) is concerned by rising costs of electricity and water in schools and other facilities under its control. The council said the costs are high despite efforts to educate users on conservation.

The local authority recently approved a P323.1 million budget for the 2015-2016 financial year, representing a 6.3 percent increase on the 2014-2015 figures.

GCC finance committee chairman, Sesupo Jacobs noted that the council was paying increasingly higher utility bills at its facilities, despite educational campaigns that have even spread to pupils in primary schools.

The council has also piloted a project to replace the existing streetlights with the LED variety, which uses less power, while also monitoring usage at electronic billboards.

“Council is spending a lot of money every year on street and traffic lights together with bills for water and electricity in some schools,” Jacobs said.

“Our efforts to educate people on these issues seems to be failing and there is high rise in utility bills especially at schools and other facilities.” The finance committee chairman said the introduction of prepaid metering for electricity, telephones and water in all council facilities would help them moderate bills.

“Councillors have proposed that there should be strict adherence to budget priorities and this will be monitored through quarterly budget reviews,” he said. 

Besides the utility costs, the GCC expects to spend another P10.5 million this year on maintaining and repairing street and traffic lights, representing a significant increase on the P3.6 million spent in the 2013-2014 financial year.

Another P1.8 million has been budgeted for office equipment, including a back-up generator at the civic centre in Gaborone. The figure represents an 80.1 percent increase in the money spent on similar activities in the 2014-2015 budget.

An analysis of the council’s 2015-2016 budget indicates that its single biggest expenditure outside of remuneration, will be P14 million to be spent on refuse contractors. The second highest item on the spending list is P12.5 million to be spent on outsourcing pothole patching, road marking and road construction materials, while the street and traffic lights project will take up P10.5 million.  In addition, the council will also spend P503,100 on various activities designed to transform Gaborone into a Diamond City.

Editor's Comment
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