ADELAIDE City Council last week endorsed its 2014-15 Business Plan and Budget, which Lord Mayor Stephen Yarwood said contains millions of dollars for projects and initiatives designed to enhance people's experience of the City and North Adelaide, as well as a range of community services and activities.
In 2014-15, the Council will invest $30 million in asset maintenance and renewals to upgrade local roads and footpaths, as well as lighting improvements. An additional $6 million is provided to complete the Rundle Mall upgrade project and there is also funding for a range of new projects and initiatives, including the next stage of the Park Lands Trail, the redesign of Bank Street and the Hindley Street West project.
The Budget includes $1 million for the Council's flagship place making venture, Splash Adelaide, as well as $1.6 million for sponsorships and grants and there is more than $700,000 for the operation of the free City Connector Service, which services the City and North Adelaide and connects to tourist attractions, key city destinations and facilities.
"As a Council we've been committed to delivering a practical budget focussed on strong management of a city ahead of a new Council in November and I think we've done that," Cr Yarwood said.
The Lord Mayor said that existing residential property owners will see an average council rate increase of 1.2 per cent, adding that this is around 1.5 percentage points below inflation and well below the 3.5 per cent increase that had been forecasted.
"While it's still an increase, I'm pleased this Council has been able to deliver a result that is far better than CPI and will offer some breathing space on cost of living pressures for residential ratepayers," Cr Yarwood said.
Non-residential property owners will receive an average rate reduction of 1.2 per cent, following a 2.2 per cent reduction in the 2013-14 financial year.
"Given the tough economic climate we're all operating in, offering an average rate reduction for non-residential building owners for the second year running is a good outcome – especially with the threat of the State Government's Parking Tax looming," Cr Yarwood said.
"The well-below CPI increase in residential rates and reduction in non-residential for the second year is attributed to ongoing growth in property valuations and in growth in new developments, additions and alterations."
According to the council, residential properties represent over 23 per cent of its rateable property base and the average valuation increased by 3.5 per cent, plus new development growth of 1.1 per cent. Non-residential properties make up the balance of rateable properties, with an average valuation increase of 2.8 per cent, and new development growth of 3.6 per cent.
More information about the 2014-15 Business Plan and Budget is available from Adelaide City Council's website at <http://www.adelaidecitycouncil.com/business-plan-budget>.