The general opinion expressed during the preliminary consultation meeting held here on Wednesday, on the budget of the Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) is that it should be realistic rather than an exaggerated one.
Even though the participation of the citizens was not on expected lines, in the meeting, chaired by Mayor Bhagyavathi, it provided a platform for an unbiased and healthy discussion. Ex-mayor R Lingappa said, the budget should be based on the revenues of the MCC. "There is no meaning in increasing the size of the budget, year after year. If the expenses and the revenues do not match, there is no meaning in presenting the budget," he said.
MCC Chief Accounts Officer D O Krishnaswamy said, the expected size of the budget for the year 2018-19 is Rs 600 crore, which is Rs 200 crore less than the size of the budget presented last year. Ex-mayor B L Bhyrappa took exception to this and asked, why is it so less?
MCC Commissioner G Jagadisha said, the budget is prepared on the basis of the funds allocation by the state government and the revenue collections of the MCC. "Last year, we had expected Rs 350 crore from the government and tax collections of Rs 190 crore. However, this year, the expected revenue from tax collections is Rs 130 crore," he said.
Bhyrappa and Corporator H S Srikantaiah said, property tax is the main source of revenue for the MCC and hence the officials concerned should stress on the collection of property tax and also the recovery of pending arrears.
"Nine zones were created with separate offices in view of decentralisation. However, the revenue collection has not been satisfactory. On the umpteen number of new residential areas that have sprung up on the outskirts of the city, over a lakh new houses have been constructed. But, no steps have been taken to collect tax from those property owners. The revenue from advertisements has also stopped due to the new policies. Unproductive expenses have increased," Srikantiah pointed out.
Chandrasekharaiah, president of contractors association, said, bills are not being passed even for the works that have been completed one year ago. "So, small contractors are suffering," he said.
Commissioner Jagadisha said, total arrears of Rs 130 crore is pending to the contractors and steps would be taken to clear all the bills before March-end.
Chief Accounts Officer D O Krishnaswamy said, in the 2017-18 budget, a revenue of Rs 877 crore and expenses of Rs 873 crore was estimated. "But, till the end of December 2017, Rs 384 crore was collected and Rs 330 crore was spent. From the MCC's own sources, Rs 281 crore was expected, but the target achieved is only 54%, amounting to Rs 150 crore," he added.