We’ve tackled the challenge of maintaining our services while also easing the burden on households and businesses by proposing to freeze fees and charges at 2019-20 levels, while reducing the fee for collecting your domestic waste by $40 a year.
At the same time, our proposed rates rise of 2.6 per cent - which is in line with the state government rate peg and represents an average household increase of $29 per year or 56 cents a week - will provide the financial foundation needed to maintain services and facilities for the community.
Overall, including the reduction in our domestic waste management charge, this will mean that the cost to the average household will actually fall by about $11 a year in the upcoming financial year, even when the rates rise is taken into account.
With many businesses forced into sudden closure and workers facing an uncertain future, it’s essential that Council not only shares some of the load but also creates stimulus for the local economy once the crisis comes to an end.
With that aim in mind, we’re proposing a capital works package of $53M to underpin crucial construction and service delivery activity, creating a large amount of work for local contractors, suppliers and other leading employers.
Some of these projects will include:
- The ongoing development of the Riverside Precinct and other Murray River Experience projects
- Major works on roads, drains and footpaths, including $1M for stage 1 of the Thurgoona Link Roads project
- Continuation of our annual Sewer Rehabilitation Program, plus other major water and sewer works totalling expenditure of more than $4.48M, and
- A range of improvements to cultural, recreational and environmental activities across the city.
We have also developed a $3M Hardship Relief Program that will provide assistance to residential ratepayers most impacted by the virus.
As part of the recovery process, we’ll continue to work with our business sector and government agencies to provide support and advice that will help to ease the load through what is undoubtedly the greatest economic challenge of the modern era. It won’t be an easy journey but by taking it together, we can share the load with economic and social recovery very much in mind.
However, you can be sure that in the meantime, we’re continuing to deliver the services that are needed to keep our city functioning, while we’re taking every step possible to ensure our people remain active, engaged and productive so that they stand ready to help drive our city through the recovery process.
Most importantly, however, is the health and safety of our people and our community, which is why it’s critical that we all continue to closely follow government requirements on social gathering and personal hygiene to slow the spread of the virus for as long as restrictions remain in place.
Thank you to everyone who’s helped to shape this draft budget, which is now on public exhibition for your feedback. Your input, as always, is essential and never more so than now, so we look forward to hearing your thoughts as we continue this journey together towards a brighter future for us all.