Adelaide City Council has endorsed its 2014-15 Business Plan and Budget after a period of community consultation and committee review.
Lord Mayor Stephen Yarwood said the endorsement signed off millions of dollars in projects and initiatives design to enhance people’s experience of the City and North Adelaide, along with a raft of important community services and activities.
“As a Council we’ve been committed to delivering a practical budget focussed on strong management of a city ahead of a new Council in November and I think we’ve done that,” Stephen said.
“As part of the budget, a better than forecast outcome on Council rates was also endorsed,” he said.
“For existing residential property owners, they’ll see an average council rate increase of 1.2%, which is more than 1.5% below CPI and well below the 3.5% we had forecast ahead of completing our valuation process.
“The 1.2% increase is on the back of an average reduction for residential ratepayers in the current financial year of 1.4%.
“While it’s still an increase, I’m pleased this Council has been able to deliver a result that is far better than CPI and will offer some breathing space on cost of living pressures for residential ratepayers,” Stephen said.
“For the second year in a row, existing non-residential property owners will receive an average reduction, this time of 1.2% on the back of a 2.2% reduction in this current year.
“Given the tough economic climate we’re all operating in, offering an average rate reduction for non residential building owners for the second year running is a good outcome – especially with the threat of the State Government’s Parking Tax looming,” Stephen said.
“The well below CPI increase in residential rates and reduction in non residential for the second year is attributed to ongoing growth in property valuations and in growth in new developments, additions and alterations,” he said.
Residential properties represent just over 23% of Council’s rateable property base and the average valuation increased by 3.5%, plus new development growth of 1.1%.
Non residential properties make up the balance of rateable properties, with an average valuation increase of 2.8%, and new development growth of 3.6%.
Individual rates may vary (higher or lower) from the average where there has been new development, capital improvements or other significant change to the potential rental return of a property.
Importantly Council has also endorsed safety nets for ratepayers like a special discretionary rate rebate for individual ratepayers which ensures the increase in council rates payable on like for like properties for 14/15 is capped at 10%. Alongside this, there are also reductions for pensioners, self-funded retirees and people experiencing hardship.
From a project perspective over the coming year, Council will invest $30 million in asset maintenance and renewals to upgrade more local roads and footpaths, as well as lighting improvements. This is $8 million more than this current year. Twelve million dollars is to be spent on new but smaller construction projects, as well as $6 million for the completion of the Mall.
Operating projects like the highly successful Splash Adelaide – Council’s flagship place making venture will be funded to the tune of $1 million, along with $1.6 million for sponsorships and grants and more than $700,000 to operate our new free City Connector Service – in all, project funds totalling $11.6 million.
Council is also investing more than $22 million to maintain its high quality public open spaces, including just on $9 million for the Adelaide Park Lands.
Services critical to Adelaide and North Adelaide ratepayers, and city visitors alike will see more than $5.6 million invested. These include community centres, libraries, the provision of home and community care services and a number of free training programs, along with nearly $300,000 for ongoing business support through Enterprise Adelaide.
Council’s long term financial position remains well managed and conservative, with borrowings for the coming year set at $27.2 million, with overall debt levels well within Prudential Limits.
For more information on the projects that form part of Council’s 2014/15 Business Plan and Budget, visit adelaidecitycouncil.com/business-plan-budget
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