Councillors break down ward budgets

Big brother will be watching you now that ward councillors are including CCTV cameras in their ward allocation with the aim of improving crime fighting, law enforcement and combating illegal dumping and racing.

Each councillor has also employed a law enforcement officer at an annual cost of R240 000, to boost safety and security in their ward.

Each councillor is provided with a budget of R850 000 each financial year, from July 1 to June 30 the next year, for allocation to ward specific projects. These are often drawn from a “wish-list” each ward councillor maintains at their sub-council and compiled throughout the year. It includes all projects and suggestions received from residents and organisations.

The funds are divided into operational and capital expenditure (capex). The first draft is presented at sub-council and monitored at subsequent meetings.

Richard White, manager of Sub-council 20, said the City plans its budget three years in advance, but ward allocations are planned 13 months in advance. “We start the initial process in June of one year to then be completed and implemented from July the following year. The sub-council sends out a notice mid year requesting community members to provide input into the ward allocations (and how much is required) which is taken into consideration for the new financial year.”

Carol Bew, Ward 73 councillor, says she was the first to introduce CCTV and tries to install two cameras each year. She has received feedback from Colonel Rufie Nel of Wynberg police that these work well in controlling crime.

All three councillors in the Bulletin area say SAPS, law enforcement, neighbourhood watches and the traffic department would be consulted to identify the hot spots to locate the equipment.

Ward allocations for 2016/17 are similar to the past year with libraries and parks receiving approximately the same as the previous year.

Libraries

Libraries receive little funding from the City’s budget so councillors’ allocations go towards supplementing films, books and IT equipment.

Ms Bew has three libraries in her ward: Plumstead, Southfield and Meadowridge. She added to media material by allocating capex funding for an overhead projector and R20 000 each to Southfield and Meadowridge libraries for skills programmes mostly aimed at Grade 11 pupils so they can prepare for job interviews. She says Meadowridge needs a new desk and computer upgrade …”but the funding does not go very far,” she said.

Ward 71 councillor Penny East will use part of her capex to upgrade some of the paving at Tokai library.

Parks and public open spaces

These receive a regular chunk of funding. Ward 62 councillor Liz Brunette spent R100 000 of her capex budget last year to upgrade Wynberg park. In this year’s budget she supports City Parks with R120 000 funding for the Constantia Valley Greenbelts which is managed by the City’s Invasive Species Unit and the Friends of Constantia Valley Greenbelts (FCVG).

Ms Brunette will use R100 000 to upgrade public open space and a park on Jan Pienaar Circle, behind Solum Court in Gabriel Road. A further R80 000 is available for other public open spaces.

Ms Bew says part of her
R150 000 funding will go towards hard-surfacing half of Steurhof Park for netball and cricket as the drought has created a field of devil thorns. She will replace the old equipment with wooden ones. In St Joan’s Road park in Plumstead she is looking at replacing and relocating the collapsed bridge with a wooden one.

Ms East says she has 18 parks in her ward and much of her R100 000 allocation will go to refurbishing equipment, among them in Kirstenhof, Orchard Village and the Restio Park in Kirstenhof Wetland. Last year she used the allocation for indigenous plantings after a request from the Friends of Die Oog.

Road and pavement upgrade

Last year Ms Brunette spent R125 358 on speed humps in Buckingham Road, around Norman Henshilwood High School, and wooden bollards around the Wynberg Village Green in Waterloo Road, Wynberg.

She says she has yet to decide where to use her R120 000 funding but receives many applications for traffic calming measures.

Ms Brunette said the non-motorised transport lanes are being constructed with funds from national government with the intention of use by commuters from their homes to bus and train routes and to their workplace.

Ms East says her R100 000 will go towards the ongoing upgrade of pavements in her ward.

Ms Bew plans to use R25 000 to hard-surface land in Francis Road, Steurhof, as an area for buses to turn around. This will alleviate traffic congestion at South Peninsula High School.

Ms Bew has allocated R50 000 for cleansing by the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) in her ward.

Ms East has allocated
R50 000 for a sports and recreation programme for seniors in Westlake Village.

Ms Brunette is using
R10 000 for a holiday recreational programme for children in the Solum Court area on Gabriel Road.

Ward councillors are now planning ward allocations for the 2017/18 financial year and would like to hear from the community as to what special projects they have.

FOCVG river warden Ann Mayne said they would like to see more money allotted to those working with the problems and challenges of homeless people.

Referring to the story “Wynberg grime worry”, (Bulletin, June 29) she said Wynberg residents have formed an ad hoc campaigning group to clean up the area. But as they succeed in removing the homeless from their doorsteps some greenbelts will again be inundated with homeless attempting to build shelters. “It is escalating as a result of unemployment and the stress of over population in the greater Cape Town area,” she said.

Mark Schäfer, chairman of Bergvliet – Meadowridge Ratepayers’ Association, said they are asked for input on an annual basis. “But given the size of the allocation as against the extent of the ward and the needs therein, we, and other representative bodies, are always bound to be disappointed.

“The ward allocations highlight the areas of spending which are neglected in the City’s budget. The ratepayers in the more affluent areas generally feel neglected when it comes to the City’s budget and the ward allocation does not do much to assuage the feeling of neglect. There seems to be money for many high profile projects and more and more highly paid officials and consultants, but the core responsibility of service and infrastructure delivery and maintenance is neglected.

“Too much money is spent in the ‘towers’ and not enough on the ‘ground’ and this probably applies to all areas of the City, not just the established areas,” said Mr Schäfer.

Wynberg Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association chairperson Kristina Davidson said the argument about doing nothing until the MyCiTi route is finalised holds no water when it comes to the traffic-calming measures requested in the past for Cogill Road.

“The proposals included having a three-way stop at intersection of Wellington and Cogill – this would make sense with or without the Brodie Road couplet as heritage would not agree to allowing the heritage cottages to be demolished, I don’t know why they continue to believe that the Brodie Road couplet is an option.”

Peter Stenslunde, speaking for the Constantia Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association, said that while they realise the ward allocation amount is very small they do not feel that building unusual pole gyms on Alphen Common serves much purpose in light of all the other glaring inadequacies such as assistance to Law Enforcement and or Metro police, given that they are completely understaffed and inadequately funded and equipped. The and or neighbourhood watch, should be a priority.

“But we do not have any control over what funding is actually used for,” he said.

Pam Gorre of the Tokai Residents’ Association, said Tokai library hasbeenrepaired, Zwaanswyk Road has been resurfaced and the road signs are in the process of being repainted. “A councillor cannot travel the entire ward and rely on feedback from the community to identify problems. Budgets are done several years in advance but there is always some reserve to help in an emergency,” said Ms Gorre.

* Sub-council 20 sent a notice on June 14 asking for comments for the July 2018 to June 2019 financial year. These are taken into account before the funds are approved in early 2018 and then implemented from July 1 2018. To provide input, contact your ward councillor.

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