City Council commits to capping rate rise at 4.5%

Rates in Mount Gambier will increase by 4.5% after the City Council’s 2022-2023 Annual Business Plan and Budget was adopted at a recent special meeting.

Council chief executive Sarah Philpott said the business plan and budget includes a 4.5% rate increase in line with the council’s Long Term Financial Plan and a commitment to the community to not raise rates beyond this amount.

“The average residential ratepayer will pay $1167 in 2022-23, equating to an overall increase of $55 which is below the state average,” Ms Philpott said.

“The fixed charge allocation percentage of rates, excluding the Waste Service Charge, has been reduced from 45% to 37% since the draft budget was released.

“This change has been made to offset the significant residential valuation increases in 2022-2023.

“After we received the relevant data to conduct our rates modelling, it was determined to reduce the fixed charge percentage of rates to offset increases in the average property values as determined by the Valuer-General.”

The annual business plan sets out council’s proposed services, programs and projects.

“It aims to maintain an efficient service for the community and continued progress towards the longer-term objectives of the city as set out in the City of Mount Gambier – 2020-2024 Strategic Plan,” she said.

“The budget outlines a total spend of $39.6m in operating expenditure to deliver council services, and a total capital expenditure of $21.5m has been allocated to renew, upgrade and build new assets, including the completion of the Wulanda Recreation and Convention Centre.”

Council also adopted the Draft Long Term Financial Plan and Draft Asset Management Plans 2023-2032 at the meeting.

Specific objectives for the year are consistent with council’s Long Term Financial Plan and Asset Management Plans to ensure the long-term sustainability of council’s financial performance and position.

Before adoption, members of the community were invited to provide feedback on the draft documents during the community consultation process which closed on June 9.

Five submissions were received and considered by ccuncil at a special meeting held on June 14.

Mayor Lynette Martin thanked the members of the community who took the time to submit feedback and those who presented at a previous meeting to council.

“It was a valuable opportunity for council to listen to the needs and aspirations of those who live and work in our city,” Mayor Martin said.

However, Mayor Martin was an apology at the special meeting.

Deputy Mayor Christian Greco chaired the meeting.

“This has obviously been a robust process over a number of weeks,” Deputy Mayor Greco said.

“One major thing to note is the rate increase has been consistent again even with high inflation, even with interest rates going up, it is still at 4.5% as we said we would be.”

Though the budget has been adopted, it did not receive the full support of council when adopted at recent special meeting.

After voting took place Councillor Paul Jenner called for a division.

He voted against, along with Cr Kate Amoroso, while Crs Frank Morello, Sonya Mezinec and Max Bruins voted in favour.

Councillor Ben Hood was also absent from the meeting due to “unforeseen circumstances”.

Meanwhile, all councillors in attendance voted unanimously in favour of the remaining reports for adoption.

This included fees and rates declaration, schedule of fees and charges, long term financial plan and asset management plans.

Cr Bruins said the budget and business place was one of the best he has been involved in.

Cr Mezinec noted reviewing all the plans at the same time.

“The annual cycle of having all the plans together works really well.

We are reviewing them all because they are all connected.

“I commend all the staff,” she said.

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