Whyalla City Council has commenced public consultation on its proposed 2020/21 Annual Business Plan & Budget and is seeking feedback from the community on the proposed activities and funding arrangements.
Traditionally, budget planning commences in May, however Council delayed the budget process due to the high level of COVID-related uncertainty that existed at that time.
The budget is heavily focused on providing assistance to help the community recover from the impacts of COVID-19, with an allocation to remitting rates for those impacted hardest. This will be available for residential, commercial and industrial and we encourage the community to see assistance if required.
Businesses impacted by closures and reduced activity will be a key focus of this support, but provision has also been made to assist residents who are experiencing financial hardship due to this event.
Council is proposing to proceed with an extensive capital program, with a focus on the renewal of existing road and footpath assets, as well as the construction of new assets outlined in the Stormwater Management Plan.
There will also be a continuing focus on economic development for the city. It is estimated that the budget will inject $24.8 million directly into the Whyalla economy.
To be able to sustainably fund the budget, a rate increase of approximately $45 per annum is proposed, or less than $1 a week is required for the average residential property. This is a 3.6% increase on 2019/20.
However, as Council have frozen the Waste Service Charge at $350 in line with 2019/20, the average residential property will experience an increase of 2.9% in their combined rate notice.
Council is proposing a rating strategy that seeks to achieve a degree of stability and predictability over time, while ensuring we pay for those services and infrastructure maintenance obligations that we consume.
Rate increases over the last 10 years have been inconsistent, averaging 4.7% but ranging between 0% and 9.2%.
Council is keen to avoid these fluctuations going forward with the Long Term Financial Plan predicting that rate increases slightly above CPI are required on average for the next 10 years.
Council has considered the impacts of adopting a lower rate increase than required by the Long Term Financial Plan for 2020/21, however considered that this reduction in community capacity was not in the best interests of the city, being mindful that efficiencies, equivalent to $85,000 per annum, already need to be identified to offset the rate relief being provided.
Community Consultation will be open from Thursday 30 July 2020 and all submissions or comments will need to be received by Friday 21 August 2020.
A full copy of Council’s Draft Annual Business Plan and Budget 2020-21 is available to view at Council offices or by visiting Council’s website at https://www.whyalla.sa.gov.au/council/publicconsultation. Information on making a written submission can be found in this document.
A public information evening will be held at 7pm on 5 August 2020 at the Whyalla Public Library, Ekblom Street, whilst verbal submissions relating to the draft document can be made at the General Council meeting on Monday 17 August 2020 commencing at 5:30pm, with both meetings subject to COVID-19 restrictions.
Council is also seeking feedback in the form of an Annual Community Survey, the results will provide baseline data by which Council can gauge improvement over time.
This survey is a key element of Council’s commitment to community engagement and the continuous improvement of Council’s service delivery in line with community expectations and the creation of public value.
Community members wishing to participate in the survey can complete the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/annualcommunitysurvey.
If you are struggling to make rates payments please contact Council on 8640 3444 or email@example.com to discuss the options available.