Council to 'balance' a rate increase

Mayor Bim Lange (right) at the The Big Project's $2.3m Angaston Railway Precinct.
Mayor Bim Lange (right) at the The Big Project's $2.3m Angaston Railway Precinct.

Barossa Council will seek to increase rate revenue by 2.5 per cent in next financial year in order to balance a budget that increases spending on road maintenance, tree management, energy efficiency.

Key features within the draft budget include:

  • Provision over four years for final agreed high priority projects of The Big Project
  • $4.4M road capital expenditure, with resealing increased to $2.9M, bringing forward works which address an identified backlog, $0.9M for rural re-sheeting projects and $274,000 for road shoulder upgrades
  • $811K for energy efficiency implementation at The Rex and Nuriootpa Council Offices to achieve lower emissions and significant cost savings
  • $830K for stormwater infrastructure associated with the Springwood development outfall and connection of Heimester Court to Johns Sims Court
  • Increases to road maintenance funding and tree management, especially key rural roads

"Importantly, the budget continues to fund core infrastructure with the aim to future-proof the region, while addressing the growing costs of delivery of day-to-day services including staffing, utilities, insurance, materials and legislative compliance," Council staff said.

Council staff have said they are "acutely aware of the climatic conditions" impacting the community and the state.

"Council has tried to strike a budget within the context of its long term plan that increases some key spending, delivers current service levels and makes small provisions for programs aimed at increasing efficiency and slowing cost increases, including lobbying other levels of government to address cost shifting, an improve governance and accountability."

Council are proposing to provide a discretionary rebate, on application, where the increase in the Primary Production general rates levied for an assessment exceeds the 2018/19 general rates by more than 15%.

The Community Wastewater Management Systems (CWMS) service charge and rate ranges from 2.5% to 2.75% each year.

Waste service charges and costs are expected to be increased at 2.5% each year, reflecting the expected cost of providing the service.

Residents are encouraged to read the Plan, including the annual review of the Long Term Financial Plan, and have their say either online at ourbetterbarossa.com.au, Facebook, via email, in writing to PO Box 867 Nuriootpa SA 5355, by June 12.

Residents can make a verbal submission at a Special Council meeting on 5 June 2019 held at 6pm at the Nuriootpa Council Chambers.

The Plan is also available to view in libraries and at the front desk of the Nuriootpa office.

The Big Project

The Big Project, which is made up of more than a dozen infrastructure projects, includes the Angaston Railway Precinct, The Barossa Culture Hub and a range of recreation park upgrades.

The Big Project is a major component of the Council's considerations and predicts The Big Project will cost $28m over the next four years.

This money will come from loans of $13m and grants/other contributions of $14m

Of the grant/contribution total of $14m, $4.8m will be sourced in 2019/20, $2.8m in 2019/20, $3.4m in 2020/21 and $3.1m in 2021/22.

At this stage, non-specified projects have been assigned to this funding.

Other Councils

Light Regional Council is considering a 2 per cent rate increase plus an expected increase in property valuations revenue of approximately 4 per cent.

The Town of Gawler is considering a three per cent rate increase, which it says translates to a $0.90 per week increase for the average residential ratepayer.