Have your say on financial blueprint

May 12, 2024 BY

Naracoorte Library + Town Hall. Photo: Naracoorte Lucindale Council website.

Naracoorte Lucindale Council’s Draft 2024-25 Annual Business Plan and Budget has been flagged as financially responsible with a 5.8% increase in general rate revenue to ensure the future sustainability of the council.

The need to reduce the council’s capital and operational spend was highlighted to elected members at a Budget Briefing Session last month and, as a result, several capital projects were removed or deferred and operational spend was reviewed to ensure the necessary increase in general rate revenue was kept as reasonable as possible.

Significantly, 58.22% of total rateable properties in the council area will still experience a rate increase of between 0%-5.8%, as well as 11.39% which will enjoy a decrease.

At a Special Council Meeting held on May 1, the elected members endorsed the release of the Draft 2024-2025 Annual Business Plan and Budget for community feedback with a reasonable level of discussion on what is an appropriate level of rate revenue to be generated, to ensure a continuation of Council services and projects.

In a report to the Special Council Meeting, CEO Trevor Smart said while it was politically palatable to have a lower rate increase, it was not necessarily financially responsible.

“To provide a financially sustainable position rather than an annual outlook is the responsibility of elected council,” Mr Smart said. “Council can decide on rating positions, but the cause and effect of any such decisions need to be carefully considered.”

Mr Smart said a reduction in rate revenue from the council’s endorsed Long Term Financial Plan would have a compounding effect in future years, as the amount lost is never recovered.

“It is generally better practice to have an endorsed position on rates (through the Long Term Financial Plan) rather than an annual view. Budget and financial repair cannot occur in a single year,” he said.

Anecdotally, Naracoorte Lucindale Council has often been labelled as having the highest rates in South Australia, however Mr Smart said in his report that this was not supported by data.

An assessment of SA Grants Commission data (collected from all councils annually by the Grants Commission) provides some rating comparisons based on a per capita basis that reflects that Council’s level of rating is very reasonable in comparison to all other SA regional councils, and also with similar-sized councils.

Mr Smart also noted in his report that the council’s asset renewal ratio (depreciation option) indicated that the council was replacing or renewing its assets before it was required to do so, which while appearing positive, was not sustainable.

The Draft Budget provides for the general continuation of the provision of the high level of services that our community currently enjoys.

Key priority projects from the Draft Budget include:

$11.041M on capital works, including $7.397M on roads and stormwater, and $2.497M on the NRLE.

Other capital projects will include:

$1.358M on the Diagonal Road (Nelsons Road to 2.2km west) construction

$1.296M on the Miles Road construction

$735,862 on the Premier Drive construction

$607,487 on the reconstruction of Jones Street as part of the Naracoorte Town Centre Rejuvenation Plan (to lift the street and give it a new pavement treatment) while maintaining one-way traffic flow but increasing the number of carparking spaces

$250,000 on Naracoorte Creek weirs

$153,000 on the sealing of the Naracoorte Swimming Lake floor and walls and $40,000 on a feasibility study for a hybrid indoor aquatic facility at the lake.

The community is invited to review and comment on the 2024-2025 Draft Annual Business Plan and Budget until May 27.

You can have your say in the following ways by:

Completing an online feedback form at https://yoursay.naracoortelucindale.sa.gov.au/

Completing a hard copy feedback form available from the Naracoorte and Lucindale Council offices

Emailing [email protected]

Writing to Council at PO Box 555, Naracoorte, SA, 5271

Council will also host community drop-in sessions in Naracoorte and Lucindale.

The drop-in sessions will be held in the Alexandra Room at the Naracoorte Library at 12 noon on Tuesday, May 14, and 5pm on Thursday, May 16, and at the Lucindale Café and Deli at 10am on Wednesday, May 15 .

You can read through the 2024-2025 Draft Annual Business Plan and Budget at https://yoursay.naracoortelucindale.sa.gov.au/ and hard copies are also available from the Naracoorte and Lucindale Council offices.

Following community consultation, a Special Council Meeting will be held on June 4 to consider feedback from the community and determine any amendments to the Draft Annual Business Plan and Budget.

Members of the public who wish to address council or ask questions about the Draft Annual Business Plan and Budget are invited to attend.

Council will consider formal adoption of the Annual Business Plan and Budget for 2024-2025 at a meeting on June 25.