ADELAIDE City Council last week announced that it has signed off on its 2013-14 Business Plan and Budget, which sets out the city's key projects, services and initiatives for the financial year ahead.
As part of the Budget, existing residential property owners will receive an average 1.4 per cent reduction in rates and existing non-residential property owners will receive an average 2.2 per cent reduction.
The Council said the average decrease has been made possible for existing properties due to a spike in new developments in the city, such as Tower 8 on Franklin Street, Ergo Apartments on Sturt Street and UNO apartments on Waymouth Street.
"Council has put a lot of effort into ensuring a robust and successful annual budget and always tries to balance the needs of our broader community and city users with our ratepayers. I'm pleased to be able to give city property owners some reprieve," said Lord Mayor Stephen Yarwood.
"This year we're focusing on progressing and completing major projects already underway, delivering a huge-array of core services that make our city tick and working with the community to make Adelaide a city of great places, for many people."
Over the next 12 months, the Council will invest $59.7 million on projects aimed at changing the experience for visitors and those living and working in the city, including the major upgrade to the northern end of Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga, the Rundle Mall redevelopment and the City Library in Rundle Place.
Ongoing maintenance and improvements to city infrastructure, roads and footpaths will continue, along with high-quality core services such as waste management, rubbish collection, recycling and street cleaning, the Council said.
Consultation on the draft Budget was held in May to provide the community with the opportunity to review the plan and provide feedback to the Council before it was formally endorsed.
In response to consultation, the Council said the two most apparent changes surround additional funding to Renew Adelaide, which gains an additional $50,000, and a reassessment of the Property Investment assumptions in the Budget and Long Term Financial Plan.
Cr Yarwood said the Council has had "virtually no debt" for the last two years and while it expects to borrow $55.2 million during 2013-14, he said the forecast borrowings are projected to remain "well within prudential and responsible limits" at 43 per cent.
"As a Council representing both the business and residential ratepayers of the city, Council will always look at the best options to deliver beneficial projects, in a financially sustainable and responsible way," Cr Yarwood said.
According to the Council, key projects in the 2013-14 Business Plan and Budget include:
- A $1m Residential Street Development program for priority streets in consultation with the community;
- Continuing the City Activation program, which includes Splash Adelaide, the Parklet program, the Outdoor Dining incentive scheme and laneway and place-making projects;
- Continuing to invest in recreation and sports facilities, including developing a Masterplan for the North Adelaide Golf Course and upgrading the Princess Elizabeth Playspace;
- A diverse range of city lighting and safety projects;
- Extensive tree planting across the city, including through major projects; and
- Continuing to make the city safe and pleasant for pedestrians and creating a bicycle friendly city by expanding the Bicycle Action Plan, including the proposed Frome Street bikeway, increasing the free Adelaide city bike scheme and continuing the Park Lands trail.