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Council adopts 2020/2021 Budget

Council adopts 2020/2021 Budget
25 June

Following community consultation the City of Mount Gambier 2020/2021 Annual Business Plan and Budget was adopted at a Special Council Meeting held on Tuesday 23 June 2020.

The budget outlines a total spend of $33.4 million in operating expenditure, depreciation of $7.5 million and total capital expenditure of $37.8 million for the delivery of services, programs and the maintenance of assets. This includes $26.8 million towards the development of the Community and Recreation Hub project and new and upgraded assets, operating and capital expenditure.

“The Annual Business Plan and Budget reflects the work of the Council in preparing for the 2020/2021 financial year,” City of Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin OAM said.

“It is a statement of the City’s intended program of work and outcomes for the upcoming financial year and has been developed with reference to the 2020-2024 Strategic Plan, the Long Term Financial Plan and the Asset Management Plan.”

Multiple projects and measures, including a rates freeze, a fees and charges freeze and a multi-million dollar COVID-19 stimulus and recovery fund allocation in addition to operational and capital expenditure are among the key budget influences for the 2020/2021 financial year.

“As the impact of COVID-19 reverberates across the globe, the need to invest heavily in the social and economic wellbeing of our community is of utmost importance,” Mayor Martin said.

“In response, the City of Mount Gambier has developed a multipronged plan that focusses on our people, our economy and our recovery.”

“We have restructured our budget and redirected resources to ensure we have the capacity to support our community through this period of uncertainty and lead towards a strong recovery.”

Approximately 68 per cent of Council’s operating revenue will come from rates in 2020/2021, with the Council’s element of rates frozen as part of the Council’s COVID-19 response.

In terms of residential rates, the average residential ratepayer will pay $1,247, which is relatively consistent with the 2019/2020 average, although ratepayers could potentially see a difference in their rates due to other factors, for example changes to property values as determined by the Office of the Valuer-General.
- City of Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin OAM

Elected Members endorsed the budget following lengthy debate around the need to consider the ongoing influence of COVID-19 and some members expressed a desire to finalise the tender process for the Community and Recreation Hub before adopting the final document.

“Council acknowledge that businesses, individuals and community organisations are struggling as a result of the pandemic and have elected to allocate a significant portion of the budget towards stimulus activities and opportunities that may present in the future, but for which it is too early to clearly identify.”

“As a result of the unknown impact, Council will use the quarterly budget review process to effectively and efficiently assess the financial position to ensure we continue to be fiscally responsible with ratepayer’s money,” Mayor Martin said.

The draft budget also includes a capital works program valued at more than $10 million.

“The annual works program will be focussed on key infrastructure projects and maintenance around the city that will provide a much needed boost to the local economy as we endeavour to lead towards a strong recovery from COVID-19.”

Other initiatives included in the 2020/2021 Annual Business Plan and Budget are:

  • Significant resources committed to the establishment of governance, financial and construction processes for the oversight and management of the Community and Recreation Hub project,
  • New strategies aligned to Council’s 2020-2024 Strategic Plan,
  • Increase in the Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) Solid Waste Levy,
  • Removal of green waste (FOGO) subscription fees,
  • Maintaining the wide range of community support programs and initiatives; and
  • Retaining and developing Council’s workforce to ensure capacity in service delivery.

“Development work on the Community and Recreation Hub, the largest infrastructure project Council is set to get underway in the upcoming financial year,” Mayor Martin said.

Members of the community were invited to take part in the community engagement process on the Draft 2020/2021 Annual Business Plan and Budget.

“Submissions were received and considered and we thank those members of the community who took the time to participate in the consultation process,” Mayor Martin said.

Media contact: City of Mount Gambier Communications Officer Ashlea Watson at awatson@mountgambier.sa.gov.au or phone (08) 8721 2577.