Victoria Falls Municipality which is eyeing a city status has commenced the 2019 budget consultations aimed at soliciting for ratepayers input into the crafting of the budget with calls for the local authority to prioritise all outstanding capital projects, in particular water and sanitation programmes.

The Municipality kicked off the 2019 budget consultations with a meeting attended by the business community, mostly tourism operators from the resort town.

The need to spruce up existing infrastructure in line with the much-anticipated city status and the continued influx of tourists visiting the destination dominated the budget consultation discussions.

The business community highlighted the need for the revamping of the existing infrastructure, expansion of the revenue base and the adoption of a lasting solution to the increase in the number of illegal curio vendors around the resort town.

Victoria Falls Mayor Councillor Somvelo Dhlamini stressed on adoption of a shared budget which will contribute to the boosting of the resort town’s image as a competitive tourism destination.

“I would like to thank you all for coming to this important meeting. It is our desire that we have an inclusive and shared budget which will position our town as a competitive tourism destination,” said Councillor Dhlamini.

Victoria Falls Town Clerk Mr Ronnie Dube highlighted that key focus areas for the municipality will be to complete all the outstanding capital projects, in particular water and sanitation programmes.

“We have to prioritise water and sanitation projects and all the outstanding capital projects in line with the growth of the town and anticipated increase in business,” Mr Dube said.

As of 30 June 2018, the council collected US$9.2 million for both capital and revenue income against a budgeted US$24.4 million.

During the forgoing financial year, the municipality undertook projects valued at US$1.3 million against a budget of US$11.9 million due to financial constraints.