Big new Council Budget for 2018
A really exciting budget this year for ratepayers, with a minimal rate increase but a huge expenditure on infrastructure and new projects that will last the city well after I am only a memory on a park sign (if that ever happens).
Next financial year we are proposing to spend $114,093,100, about $1M short of this year, and rate revenue is estimated to make up $97,566,300 of that income, and we are aiming for a balanced budget.
We are also anticipating an Asset Sustainability Ratio of 125% this coming year (ASR is the rate at which infrastructure is replaced) which please me greatly, as we need our infrastructure to be replaced when it needs to be. I am a stickler for replacing ageing infrastructure and I let our new Director of City Assets know that I would not accept under 100% – so glad I didn’t have to push that one.
To keep the rate increase low, we have lowered the rate in the dollar, from $0.00578 to $0.00577 of property valuation for non-residential rates and from $0.00267 to $0.00266 of property valuation for residential rates and increasing the minimum rate 2.6% to $816.00.
This will mean an average residential rate increase of 2.6% (and not 2.9% as reported in the City North Messenger), which is slightly higher than Adelaide’s CPI which is 2.0%.
This year our Council got a nice thwack from the State Government when they transferred several hundred Housing SA (formerly known as SA Housing Trust) properties to community housing providers so the State Government no longer had to pay rates on these properties, and we are not allowed by law to charge rates to community housing, this alone costing us $645,000 this coming year.
As the shift of old government housing stock to the community housing sector continues, we will end up losing millions of dollars in rates, and this will restrict what we can do in years to come.
The Federal Government also gave us a nice kick with a reduction in the Roads to Recovery program of $2.0M (that’s right, that’s the reduction) to less than a $1M this year.
Other vastly increased costs included waste management costs increasing $400,000 mainly due to the increase in the Solid Waste Levy (this is not charged for recycling), public lighting costs increase of $200,000, and change to residual asset values by the AASB costing us net $1.2M in depreciation costs. If you suffer from insomnia, the full explanation of that will cure it.
If not for the State Government mandated increases alone, we would have kept our rate increase to just 1.6%, under CPI.
For the first time in many years, we have dumped our Treasury Management policy (thank goodness!) and whilst interest rates are at historic lows, locked in those low rates for $7.5M loans for new capital works.
Speaking of capital works, we will be spending approximately $5.5M this coming year on the new Lighstview Stadium (there, I have renamed it from the staff moniker of the Lightsview Indoor Recreation Centre) in our area.
We are also working on the Duncan Fraser, Northfield minor upgrades, FJ Garrad Reserve, Northfield upgrade (my idea), Hawick Reserve, Valley View upgrade (my idea); irrigation and drainage work on Thomas Turner Reserve, Valley View and Harry Wierda Reserve, Oakden; Nelson Road road reserve, Roy Amer Reserve, Oakden and Sir Ross Smith Boulevard (my idea) upgrades.
The above expenditure in Northfield ward is $7,742,000 out of $20,836,000 for the whole Council combined in Parks & Gardens Capital Works alone.
In works construction, we will see repair to the Briens Road Retaining Wall (my idea), and new footpaths to Briens Road, Northfield (my idea), Moreshead St, Greenacres, p and path upgrades to Delhi Reserve, Hillcrest and Roy Amer Reserve, Oakden (my idea).
There will be a new safer road in the Fosters Road service road near the library (happening now – my idea), and replaced roads in:
GREENACRES: Princes Rd, Rellum Rd.
HAMPSTEAD GARDENS: Gambia Ave.
HILLCREST: Chaplin St.
NORTHFIELD: Arthur St, Cox Tce, Harrison Gr, Justin Ave, Link St, Meryl Ave, Northfield Rd.
NORTHGATE: Vickers Vimy Pde.
OAKDEN: Saltram Pde.
VALLEY VIEW: Burton Ave, Haddington St, Hawick St, Paul Dr, Plews Ave, Vista Ave, Woodstock St, O’Loughlin Rd.
That totals to $3.2M out of a works budget of $14.2M, again punching above our weight.
Now who is that says we are forgotten about by Council in our ward? Oh, yes, idiots.
Further, Northfield Ward will see work on the Greenacres Local Area Traffic Management Plan (my idea), and a masterplan for Edward Smith & LJ Lewis Reserves.
As usual, Council consulted the community on what it wanted in the budget and only had responses wanting to increase expenditure, mostly on the arts.
No one, it seems, has any ideas on how to cut expenditure, apart from staff and elected members, and we do find ways to do this almost every year.
If you want to read it all for yourself, here is the Special Council Meeting Agenda & Report:
Here is the Draft Annual Business Plan and Budget (you can remove the word ‘Draft’ – and I have told staff to correct the spelling error on page 12 too):
And here is the Draft Long Term Financial Plan (also now remove ‘Draft’):
Oh, and love to hear what you think of all this – please comment below.