By Staff Reporter
Gweru City Council has started the process of ensuring that it sends itemized bills to residents more than five years of clashing with ratepayers over the new system.
An itemised bill is one which lists the cost of each item rather than just the total cost and the local authority move to this new system will see a departure from the previous estimates bills which saw residents resisting to honour their debts.
Mayor Josiah Makombe said that council has since recruited an information technology manager who among other duties will ensure that the new billing system is in place “as soon as possible.”
“We have since enrolled the services of an IT manager to make sure we have a new billing system in place,” Makombe said.
“The issue of itemised bills has been a thorny over the years and I am glad to announce that we are working on the digitilisation of our system to ensure we have itemisedbills in a few months time.”
He added:” We hope that once this new system is in place residents would also honour their obligations as most of them were saying that could not pay bills based on estimates.”
Currently the city is owed over $295 million by ratepayers, arrears which the local authority say if cleared would see increased service delivery.
Over the years residents have been demanding itemised bills fromcouncil, arguing that they (itemised bills) present a true reflection of outstanding amounts owed to th e local authority by ratepayers.
Gweru United Progressive Residents and Ratepayers Development Association Trust (Guprarda) executive director, David Chikore said the introduction of itemised bills was long overdue and would see more residents paying their bills.
“As Guprarda we have always made it clear that council should provide, to all ratepayers on the council’s billing radar, individual itemised bills so that each ratepayer ca nauthenticate the validity of the components that constitute his or her debt,” Chikore said.
He said itemized bills ensured transparency and accountability on what we as ratepayers owe council.
Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association director Cornelia Selipiwe concurred and said A trusted billing system would give residents confidence in settling their debts.
“This is a welcome move and it was long overdue,”he said.
“If council has an acceptable billing system surely l don’t see thereason why residents would not honour their obligations.”
Over the years residents have been refusing to settle their bills arguing they
were issued with exorbitant estimated debt statements by the council.