Council’s bold budget puts community first
To ease the financial burden on its ratepayers, the Council made the decision to maintain its fixed charge and differential rates at 2019/20 levels. This means that if a property’s capital value has not changed since 1 July 2019, its rates bill will not increase in 2020/21.
The Council has been conscious of the need to support the community, deliver essential services and undertake major infrastructure projects that will be a catalyst for future opportunities. The budget forecasts a capital works program worth $14.9 million and operating expenditure of $29.7 million resulting in a $871,900 deficit.
“The decision to present our community with a rate freeze and deficit budget has not been taken lightly. Rate freezes are not sustainable for Council. However, given the exceptional circumstances brought about as a result of COVID-19, the Council has opted for a once-off rate freeze on the differential rate and fixed charge in 2020/21,” said City of Victor Harbor Mayor Moira Jenkins.
“Similarly, the Council has the capacity to carry a deficit budget in 2020/21 to support our community. Though our intention will be to carry out regular budget reviews throughout the year to identify savings and reduce the forecast deficit.”
The City of Victor Harbor has been able to attract around $4.5 million in grant funding for projects and activities in 2020/21. In some cases this has resulted in projects brought forward on the Council’s work plan to take advantage of external contributions.
The Council will undertake the redevelopment of the Railway Plaza which will see Railway Terrace transformed into an adaptable outdoor public space that is safe, welcoming and vibrant. The $4.6 million project, which received a $2.3 million contribution through the SA Government’s Places for People Grant Program, is expected to start in September 2020.
Other notable projects included in the 2020/21 Annual Business Plan and Budget include new public toilets at The Bluff Boat Ramp, upgrade of the Franklin Parade shared pathway from Kent Reserve to The Bluff, safety improvements along Waggon Road and the construction of new stables and amenities for the Horse Tram at Canton Place.
“There is no doubt that our business plan and budget is ambitious. However, it shows the Council backing its community. We are leading the way by investing in projects that will help stimulate the local economy,” said Mayor Jenkins.
“If we want others to invest in Victor Harbor, the Council needs to walk the talk. That’s what this budget is all about.”