ALEXANDRINA - After a fortnight's delay Alexandrina Council has adopted its 2012/13 budget and business plan.
At the council meeting on Monday, July 2 councillors postponed the decision after they sought clarification on the allocation of employment costs included in the financial statements.
Councillor Jim Davis was the only councillor at the meeting this Monday, July 16 to vote against the budget adoption.
Cr Davis said while clarity was provided in the workshop run earlier that day by the council's finance department, he still opposed the budget in terms of increases in staff costs.
"I'll be opposing the budget on those grounds," cr Davis said.
Total budgeted employee costs in 2013 are $12,506,000 compared to the 2012 budget of $11,670,000.
Budgeted operating employee costs for 2013 are $12,059,000 compared to $11,161,000 in the 2012 budget.
For Alexandrina ratepayers, rates will go up on average by 5.9 per cent.
Council has experienced a slight decrease in growth, the initial figure was expected to be 2 per cent, but the actual growth rate is 1.5 per cent.
Council has budgeted for an operating deficit of $1.8 million for the financial period ending June 30, 2013, that is expected to return to surplus in 2016.
The Valuer General has undertaken a valuation adjustment in the area that shows the Alexandrina region has experienced a decline in property valuations of 4 per cent on average, with some towns experiencing a decline of up to 8 per cent.
Council will continue the application of rate capping for all eligible properties. A cap of 12 per cent for the principal place of residence and 50 per cent on application for all other ratepayers will apply.
Council said the budget is designed to support local employment and economic activity, and will continue with a strong capital works program of $13.5 million, with major projects including the Mount Compass Community Waste Management Scheme, Strathalbyn Show Hall and Stage 3 Fenchurch Street.