MEMBERS of the Port Augusta Residents and Ratepayers Association Inc. (PARARA) came together on Thursday, September 21 and their goal to see a rate reduction in Port Augusta remains unwavered.
PARARA member Maralyn Marsh said residents were “definitely still unhappy with their rates.”
“Port Augusta still pays double what anybody else in the state pays and it’s not acceptable,” she said at the meeting.
PARARA has been committed to forcing downward pressure on rates for over a year, with members regularly attending Port Augusta City Council Meetings.
PARARA member Maurice Parry believes the three per cent increase in rate revenue in the 2017-18 Budget, which was “the lowest increase on record for this Council,” came as a result of the Association’s pressure on Council.
“While it was no great increase, we reluctantly had to be satisfied with a small increase of three per cent overall … we understand it’s more than three per cent for some ratepayers,” Mr Parry said.
“Attending the Council Meetings, we’ve noticed a change of attitude from the Council and I think as a group we engineered this change.”
Mr Parry said PARARA would continue to “watch closely and ask questions” about Council’s finances following the sale of Nerrilda Nursing Home and AM Ramsay Village.
With the sale of the aged care facilities believed to be saving the Council about $600,000, Mr Parry said he hopes there will be “a reduction in administration needed to run the Council” as a result.
Moving forward, the Association is making a strong push to have members put themselves forward to be elected onto Council in 2018.
Mrs Marsh said PARARA needs like-minded people to stand for Council to achieve the Association’s goal of seeing a zero per cent rate rise in the next budget.
“It’s one way we can really make a change,” she said.
“If we can get about five people who are absolutely committed to getting a reduction in our rates, I think we will have a chance.
“Any Councillor now that isn’t going to concentrate on reducing rates is not going to have a hope in hell of getting in and that’s the feeling out in the community.”
Members of the Association were also concerned with Council’s $1.6 million investment into the Parks and Gardens sector in the 2017-18 Budget.
PARARA will be holding its Annual General Meeting on Thursday, November 30 at Central Augusta Football Club.