Nelson Mandela Bay Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Trevor Harper will be walking a tightrope when he tables the 2014/15 Adjustments Budget in February next year.
On the downside, revenue from the sale of electricity will be less than initially projected, not only because load-shedding will mean less consumption but also because of the shift away from electricity to gas. The difference between what the metro pays Eskom and what it charges the consumer is used for repairs and maintenance. Funds for this purpose will now have to be sourced elsewhere.
In addition, with no additional money forthcoming from National Government for the Nooitgedagt Low Level Scheme, funding for completion of the scheme will need to be sourced internally. Completion of the scheme is urgent given the warning from the Department of Water and Sanitation that Nelson Mandela Bay faces a drought next year.
It is likely that the metro will only know whether additional funds are to be made available by National Government for the scheme when Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene presents his budget on February 25 next year.
Also on the downside is that the CFO will be expected to identify funds for the implementation of the metro police service, Mayor Ben Fihla having stated in a report to council that he wants funds found for this purpose, with nothing having been provided in the main appropriation.
Add to that the fact that the capital budget for the Integrated Public Transport System (IPTS) was overspent in 2013/14 while Human Settlements has overspent in the current financial year. On the upside, the collection rate in November at 95.2% was above the target of 94%, which means initiatives to address the collection rate are bearing fruit. Against that consumers face utility increases from July 1, with the electricity tariff up by 12.39% and water by an estimated 17.8%.
(Source: Metro Minutes firstname.lastname@example.org)