The Bulawayo City Council, which is now owed more than $116 billion by residents and government departments, is facing a dilemma about how to recover its money.
A number of incentives it has introduced have so far borne little fruit. It offered ratepayers a 10 percent discount for those who paid up their debts but very few ratepayers took advantage of the offer.
The council tried to hire private debt collectors but the seven companies that applied were not suitable.
The council was owed $30 billion by government departments at the end of January. This was a slight increase from $26 billion at the end of last year.
Individual ratepayers owed the council $86.4 billion up from $71.3 billion in December.
The council had a good start this year, collecting revenue of $43.1 billion in January while spending only $17.5 billion.