Council held a special meeting this week to consider a number of measures to assist the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the online meeting Elected Members endorsed a multifaceted strategy focused on supporting the community under the key areas of ‘our people’, ‘our economy’ and ‘our recovery’.
In response to the unprecedented situation being faced by our city Council has taken swift action to introduce a broad strategy offering vital support to our people and economy now and into the future as we look towards the recovery phase. - Mayor Lynette Martin OAM
A significant step towards supporting the economy was the endorsement of a series of rent waivers for a range of Council tenants.
“Elected members resolved to waive the equivalent of one year’s rent for all community and sporting tenants and to provide specific support to our tourism tenants in the first instance,” Mayor Martin said.
The measure also included the waiving of maintenance charges for sporting clubs and Council agreed to review any future tourism tenancy rent on a monthly basis from 1 July 2020 until the end of the current public health emergency.
“Council has a range of community, sporting, commercial and semi-commercial tenants that occupy facilities under varying rental arrangements and it is important that an equitable approach is taken when dealing with these,” Mayor Martin said.
Commercial tenants will also be supported with Council authorising rent waivers on a case-by-case basis upon application.
These measures are anticipated to have an impact on Council’s budget in the vicinity of $130,000.
In addition, Council are undertaking a detailed budget review and will offer support to ratepayers who are experiencing financial hardship and finding it difficult to make rates payments.
“Those who may be struggling to make ends meet at present are encouraged to contact the Council’s rates officers to discuss their options,” CEO Andrew Meddle said.
The ‘our people’ aspect of the strategy includes the convening of a community response roundtable and establishment of an online portal where the community can seek further information regarding COVID-19 and what it means at a local level.
“The ‘Our City, Our Response’ community portal acts as a central hub to assist people to be informed and understand what the impact of the virus means for our residents,” Mayor Martin said.
“It is important that Council reinforce the advice from other tiers of government to limit any confusion and hopefully provide some clarity for our community during this challenging time.”
The portal is updated regularly and seeks input from the community about how the current circumstances are affecting them.
“The information gathered through the portal will help to inform how Council can partner with residents and local organisations to lead the way to recovery.”
“It is important that we as a community remain connected and informed through this period and I also urge residents to keep in touch with the City of Mount Gambier website.”
“I want you to know that we are here for you, you are not alone and we are all in this together,” Mayor Martin said.
The ‘our recovery’ component of the strategy focusses on rebuilding the economy, reactivating spaces and events and investing in the city’s people.
“Local Government has a big role to play when it comes to keeping the local economy afloat at this time and when we reach the recovery point,” Mayor Martin said.
“Our aim is to support the economy through continued investment in infrastructure, projects and most importantly our residents.”
“It is also important we spend this time helping our community get through the hardship and preparing the city to be the best it can be when we recover.”
The ‘Our City. Our Response’ portal can be accessed at www.haveyoursaymountgambier.com.au/covid-19
Media contact: City of Mount Gambier Communications Officer Ashlea Watson firstname.lastname@example.org or (08) 8721 2577.