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BCC loses millions from unoccupied properties

by Nigel
30 Dec 2020 at 07:25hrs | Views
BULAWAYO City Council (BCC) could be losing millions in revenue from several properties that were unoccupied and were not being billed for varying reasons, latest council minutes show.

This came at a time city fathers were pleading financial incapacity to provide services such as refuse collection.

At the same time, the local authority has been quick to switch off water supplies to residents over outstanding bills.

However, council minutes show that while the BCC complains of financial constraints, a number of properties are unbilled.

"Discussion ensued and His Worship the mayor (Solomon Mguni) appreciated that rebasing had achieved good results. Bills were now being paid. However he noted with concern that council was losing revenue on premises that were not occupied," the minutes read.

"The premises are lying idle and now dilapidated. The department should ensure that the premises are rented out in order to bring revenue to council."

As of October, the local authority was owed $477 million by residents, government departments, industry and commerce.

Councillor Silas Chigora suggested that council comes up with a new policy to attract tenants if the tender system was proving futile.

"Councillor Chigora concurred. He made reference to Ascot Racecourse which he said had been lying idle for a long period of time. He noted with concern that the property had been tendered out but had no takers," the minutes read.

"He suggested that if the premises had no takers, other options to have the premises occupied should be considered. He said a policy should be adopted to consider Expression of Interest if the tender system did not yield any results."

According to councillor Felix Mhaka, Ascot Racecourse had been tendered out but the tenants quickly moved out over rental issues.

"However the premises had been surrendered back to council because of the rental issue. The rentals did not match with the state of the property (dilapidated).

"He said that departments should work on a timeframe and evaluate whether there had been any progress or hindrance," the minutes added.

Source - newsday