SunLive         

Nearly half a billion dollars in operating and capital spending next year was debated in the Council chamber last week. After hearing and considering your submissions, Council has decided on its 2020/21 post-lockdown budget.

After a tense few months in the workplace, the debate was good natured. Neither the ‘invest more’ nor ‘prudent financial management’ wings of the council chamber got everything they wanted; there was compromise by both and as a result the final budget was agreed by ten votes to one.

To support CBD retailers in the post-lockdown recovery, Cr Andrew Hollis led the charge, and got majority support, to remove on-street paid parking until November when it will be reviewed again. Community groups such as the women’s homeless shelter and the foodbank had increased grants this year; again, in response to COVID.

In response to submissions, Council increased its spending by $1.2m from the draft budget but then directed a $1.2m reduction in the operating budget to make things balance. Overall, we adopted a 4.7 per cent rates rise, which was the same as what we finally consulted on (after COVID and the ‘prudent financial management’ wing convinced the majority to drop from 12.6 per cent proposed on March 4).

The 4.7 per cent total figure affects people differently depending on the type and value of your property. Thirty per cent of residential property owners will see a rates decrease from what they had last year. The median $650,000 home in the city will be looking at a 1.1 per cent rise; however, the median $1m commercial property will be looking at a 10.8 per cent rise.

Straight from city council
A personal view,
by Councillor Steve Morris