Draft budget released for review

COUNCIL: Port Augusta City Council releases 2018-19 draft Budget and Business Plan.
COUNCIL: Port Augusta City Council releases 2018-19 draft Budget and Business Plan.

Port Augusta City Council has released its annual draft Budget and Business Plan with no relief to ratepayers as it continues to grapple with a legacy of debt. 

In a bid for Council to reduce the debt by $15m at the end of the 2019 financial year, the average ratepayer will experience a 3.2 per cent increase in rates.

The minimum rate is expected to increase by 1.6 per cent ($20) to $1,305, however the average residential rate is estimated to be around $1,663 – an increase of 2.8 per cent overall.

Rates will continue to be capped at 6 per cent for residential assessments and 15 per cent for all other assessments.

In a relatively conservative budget, $2.5m is set to be spent on work identified through Council’s Asset Management Plan.

Included in the Asset Management Plan is;

  • $175,000 to go towards construction of the toilet block on the TAFE side of Central Oval. The toilet block has sat incomplete since the complex opened in 2015.
  • $30,000 to conduct a scope for the potential upgrade of the playing surface at Central Oval.
  • Funding for a detailed building assessment of Hancock Stadium 
  • Development of a design concept for the public toilets in the Civic Centre building to re-design the existing non-compliant disabled toilets into modern facilities.
  • $185,000 for demolition of the East Side Mill Jetty
  • $150,000 to Shack Road 

Council has also allocated funds towards obtaining detailed assessments of a number of ageing Council assets including the Wharf and Westside Jetty.

$111,000 has been budgeted for community events such as Wharfest, the Christmas Pageant and the Port Augusta Racing Club. 

While $238,600 has been committed to Council’s strategic partners such as the Regional Development Association Far North, the Spencer Gulf Cities and a hotly contested review of the City Safe Patrol.

In the past, Council has struggled to achieve significant reductions in its operating deficit.

Council’s Long Term Financial Plan indicates a deficit of $3,813,000 for 2018/2019 financial year, down from $4,541,900 at the end of this financial year.

Currently, the 2018/2019 draft budgeted operating deficit is $3,992,700, suggesting the target will not be achieved at the end of the 10 year plan.

Council will continue its Service Level and Range Review in the coming years, with another $3.7m in savings/cuts required in order to return to surplus budget. 

The draft budget and business plan, incorporating the annual review of the long term financial plan, is available for viewing at the Civic Centre’s front foyer and on Council’s website www.portaugusta.sa.gov.au. 

A Special Council Meeting will be held on June 20 in the Council Chambers, from 6pm to hear any submissions from the public.