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3.5% approved by elected members

budget

The City of Whyalla has listened to the community regarding its proposed 4% rate rise while also formulating a solution to address an unexpected State Government solid waste levy increase.

At a Special Council Meeting on Monday (July 8, 2019), Whyalla elected members approved the 2019-2020 Annual Business Plan and Budget that contained an amended 3.5% general rate rise (average increase of $49 per year).

This lower rate rise, along with a cut to proposed increases in community programs and spending, will help offset extra costs as a result of the $15 per tonne solid waste levy increase announced in last month’s State Government Budget.

“We’ve listened to residents who said the proposed 4% rate rise was too high but then we’ve also had the unexpected rise in the solid waste levy to deal with too." CEO Chris Cowley

The increased levy has resulted in an additional $5 per year rise in annual services charges and $1.50 rise in the gate price at the Mt Laura Waste and Resource Recovery Centre from the initial draft business plan and budget that went out to public consultation.

The scrapping of proposed funding increases for the community grants program, the uneARTh Festival, City Growth Scoping project and tourism signage replacement were measures taken to achieve the lower rate rise and address community concerns as revealed in the public consultation process.

Council CEO Chris Cowley praised Council officers and elected members for their work in amending the draft business plan and budget to better meet community expectations and accommodate the solid waste levy increase.

“It was a great result to have nearly 500 page views on the 2019-2020 Draft Annual Business Plan and Budget and 28 written responses which was an increase on previous years,” Mr Cowley said.

“We’ve listened to residents who said the proposed 4% rate rise was too high and we’ve also had the unexpected rise in the solid waste levy to deal with too.

“We have no choice but to lift the annual service charges and gate entry to the dump but this has been offset by the reduction in the proposed rate rise.

“It is unfortunate we can’t increase the funding for some key programs but this is the price we pay for an unexpected State Government rise in costs to the community through the solid waste levy.

“Other Councils have simply upped their proposed rate rise but we’ve worked hard to reduce ours and ensure Whyalla’s ratepayers are no worse off.”

The State Government solid waste levy increase will cost Whyalla an extra $80,000 in the 2019-2020 financial year and an estimated $240,000 the following year. Mr Cowley said this would present an even greater challenge in the next budget but Council was already making plans to deal with this extra cost to the community.

“We will be doing all we can to promote more recycling in our community that will help ease this extra solid waste levy cost and we encourage every resident to do their bit too,” Mr Cowley said.

“The more you recycle, the less it will cost you at the dump and the less it will cost our city in the solid waste levy.”

Mr Cowley said the 3.5% general rate rise will set the city on a manageable financial path that will ensure all Council services and assets are maintained and improved in line with the Long Term Financial Plan.

“We’ve been there for the community over the past couple of years with a zero and 2.5% rate rise but assets don’t get any younger and roads don’t get any better which means we can’t keep absorbing CPI rises and the cost of maintaining and improving our city with such modest or nil rate rises,” Mr Cowley said.

“To kick start our efficiency and savings efforts we have also started the 160K program internally which will result in at least $160,000 in real savings to Council and the community along with the knock-on effect of many more efficiencies and savings.”

Residents are advised there is a quarterly payment system available. Senior ratepayers may also be eligible to apply to Council to postpone payment of rates on their principal place of residence.

“We’ve been there for the community over the past couple of years with a zero and 2.5% rate rise ... " CEO Chris Cowley

The Local Government Act permits Council, on the application of a ratepayer, to partially or wholly remit rates or to postpone rates, on the basis of hardship.

Council's Rate Policy and Application forms are available at the Council office. Enquiries about the 2019-2020 Annual Business Plan and Budget can be made in writing to council@whyalla.sa.gov.au or by calling (08) 8640 3444.

The 3.5% rate rise may vary depending on individual property values.

The 2019-20 Fees and Charges can be found at http://www.whyalla.sa.gov.au/webdata/resources/files/Fees%20and%20Charges%202019-20.pdf

AMENDED 2019-2020 ANNUAL BUSINESS PLAN AND BUDGET SNAPSHOT

INCREASE IN STATE GOVERNMENT’S SOLID WASTE LEVY

Factor: July 1, 2019 - $55 per tonne solid waste levy (up from $50 per tonne) resulting in an estimated extra $80,000 that must be paid to the government.

Result: Additional $5 increase to annual service charge and $1.50 rise in dump gate fee (since consultation).

DECREASE IN PROPOSED 4% RATE RISE TO 3.5%

Factor: Decrease in the city’s rate revenue of $70,000

Result: Decrease in rate rise for residents of $5 per annum (average $49 down from $54)

SCRAPPING OF PROPOSED FUNDING RISES FOR COUNCIL PROGRAMS

Factor: A total of $70,000 in proposed funding increases taken away from the Community Grants Program ($15,000), the uneARTh Festival ($25,000), City Growth Scoping project ($20,000) and tourism signage replacement ($10,000).

Result: A saving of $70,000 that allows the rate rise down to 3.5%

2019-2020 ANNUAL BUSINESS PLAN AND BUDGET FACTS

  • Public consultation period for 2019/2020 Draft Annual Business Plan and Budget commenced on Tuesday 21 May 2019, with consultation closing at 5.00 pm Tuesday 25 June 2019. Council’s 2019/20 Annual Business Plan and Budget is consistent with Council’s Long Term Financial Plan (LTFP), which has been reviewed in accordance with Section 122 (4)(4a) of the Local Government Act 1999.
  • The 2019/2020 Draft Annual Business Plan and Budget has an operating deficit before capital amounts of ($255,000); an operating deficit ratio of (1%); a net financial liabilities ratio of 52%; an asset sustainability ratio of 165%; and additional loan borrowings of $8.3 million (estimated total borrowing at year end 2020 of $14.4 million).
  • The 2019/2020 Draft Annual Business Plan and Budget rate rise of 3.5% takes into account the Local Government Price Index 2.1%, Consumer Price Index (CPI) 1.3%; and a target of $160,000 in cost savings.
  • Major projects including the first year of a $14 Million, 3-Year Road Delivery Program; $875,000 Memorial Oval Upgrades; $360,000 Concrete Footpath Program; $358,000 Foreshore Upgrade; $299,000 Wetlands Highway Access; $198,000 Marina Lighting Upgrade; $145,00 Strategic Bicycle Plan; $140,000 Northern Coastline Road Sealing; $135,000 Ada Ryan Gardens Upgrade; $118,00 Marina Breakwater strengthening; $102,000 Street Signage Project; $90,000 Street Tree Replacement Program.
  • Other key initiatives include HMAS Whyalla repairs, Whyalla Airlines Crash Memorial repair, foreshore boat ramp improvements; foreshore dune seeding project; cemetery upgrades; dog park shelter.
  • Costs associated with the implementation of changes to Planning Act and accreditation, including membership of the joint planning board.

 

 

 

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