Following community consultation and a public hearing, the City of Mount Gambier adopted its 2019/2020 Annual Business Plan and Budget at a Special Council Meeting held on Thursday 27 June 2019.
The budget outlines a total spend of $32.4 million in operating expenditure, depreciation of $7.3 million and total capital expenditure of $10.5 million for the delivery of services, programs and the maintenance of assets. This includes $2.6 million towards the first stage of the Mount Gambier Community and Recreation Hub project and development of new and upgraded assets, operating and capital expenditure.
“Council is pleased to deliver what we feel is a responsible budget with a forecast net operating surplus of $282,000 (including adjustments for disposals and new and upgraded assets) and a modest operating deficit of $242,000 as at 30 June 2020 in line with industry financial sustainability performance targets,” City of Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin said.
A 4.5 percent average rate increase will be maintained, consistent with Council’s Long Term Financial Plan. Approximately 66 per cent of Council’s operating revenue will come from rates in 2019/2020.
“In terms of residential rates, the average residential ratepayer will pay $1,238 in 2019/2020, an increase of $50.00 (4.2 percent, or 96 cents per week) on last financial year’s average residential rate.”
Mayor Martin highlighted that in 2018/2019 City of Mount Gambier ratepayers paid about $211 less in residential rates on average in comparison to other regional cities in South Australia.
According to the Local Government Association of South Australia Rates Survey 2018/2019, the average ratepayer in metropolitan areas paid $1,598, while the average ratepayer in other rural areas across the state paid about $1,399. In comparison, the average City of Mount Gambier ratepayer paid $1,188.”- City of Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin
“In addition, Council is able to deliver all important services to the community, whilst still investing in enhancements to improve the quality of life of those who live, work and visit the city.”
Key influences on the budget include the State Government’s recent announcement that the Solid Waste Levy, a tax on waste sent to landfill, will increase by 40 percent from $50.00 per tonne to $70.00 per tonne on 1 January 2020.
“The foreshadowed levy hike will have a $60,000 impact on the 2019/2020 budget, which Council will need to address during budget reviews in the coming months.”
“Council sees this exorbitant rise as unjust cost shifting, which will create a significant financial burden for local government across the state. Council will write to the State Government to express disappointment in this decision,” Mayor Martin said.
Natural Resources Management South East advised Council late this week that the gazetted figure for the NRM Levy, collected by councils through rates on behalf of the NRM Board, was incorrect.
“The State Government gazetted the wrong figure for all councils in the South East region. The initial figure of $76.20 per residential property has been revised up to $77.10 and it will be a re-gazetted at some stage in the future. However, the impact to Council is an additional $11,000, or 90 cents per residential property.”
“Again, Council will write to the State Government to express disappointment about this change being made at the eleventh hour of the draft budget process.”
Other influences on the budget include the first full year of operation of the ReUse Market which opened in October 2018 and additional recycling costs due to China’s ban on receiving exported recycled material.
The budget will provide for a continued focus on economic development including tourism and events, the delivery of the signage strategy and youth, arts, culture and heritage initiatives supported by the Riddoch Art Gallery.
“Some of the projects that Council will focus on in the coming year will include the Railway Station building, the Vansittart Park grandstand, the road infrastructure program, waste management services, footpaths and upgrades to public amenities throughout the city.”
“Development work on the Community and Recreation Hub, the largest infrastructure project Council has ever undertaken, will also get underway,” Mayor Martin said.
The budget is based on the strategies, initiatives, services and projects aligned with Council’s Community Plan – The Futures Paper (2016-2020), the Long Term Financial Plan and Infrastructure and Asset Management Plans.
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