City of Onkaparinga propose lowest rate rise ever

The draft is out: Mayor Erin Thompson at the Councils Noarlunga Office.
The draft is out: Mayor Erin Thompson at the Councils Noarlunga Office.

City of Onkaparinga residents are set for their lowest ever rate rise for the 2019/20 period after Council released their draft Budget and draft Annual Business plan for the upcoming financial year.

The 1.6% rate rise which been proposed by Council would take the average residential rate to $1562, a $25 increase from 2018/19.

City of Onkaparinga Mayor Erin Thompson said elected members and the administration have worked hard to identify savings and deliver a draft budget that's in line with the end of year Consumer Price Index (CPI).

"We're pleased to go out to our communities with a proposed 1.6 per cent increase for 2019-20 which is one of the lowest rate increases for the coming year across South Australian metropolitan councils and the lowest in our council's history."

The rate is the lowest rise since the Council was created with the amalgamation of the City of Happy Valley, City of Noarlunga and District of Willunga. It is also .15% fall from last years 1.85% increase.

Local resident John Houlahan said that while the low rate rise was a good start for Council, he was concerned that Council was not being as responsible as needed with their spending.

Mr Houlahan who is member of the Onkaparinga Council Watch Group on Facebook has been battling with Council on a number of issues for the last 15 years said that the rate rise was good but Council should be looking at cutting some of their 'Value Added Activities' in order to save money.

He added that it looks as though Council are borrowing too much money and that while Council Administration were always going to be in charge, the elected Council members need to Administration in check.

"There are a number of services they're (Council) providing which are duplicating services provided by non-Government agencies.

"There are areas which are nice to be in if you have got the money - we haven't got the money, we're (the Council) (sic) living beyond our means, they need to start managing their money the same as everybody else in Australia has to."

Mr Houlahan used the example that some disability and youth services which Council provide are doubled up due to them already being provided by non-Government agencies.

"Value added activities are not Core Activities, you don't have to provide them," he said.

In the draft Annual Business Plan, it has been proposed that $119.1 million will be spent on Core Activities, $46.2 million on Value Added Activities and $36.2 million on New Assets and Significant Upgrades.

Further information on the draft Annual Business Plan is available now in the link below which also invites community feedback now yoursay.onkaparinga.sa.gov.au/annual-business-plan-2019.

Mayor Thompson said Council encourage residents to get involved in the budget process to help us better understand what programs and services are important to them, what they want to see delivered over the next year, how we can improve, and if we're focusing our efforts in the right area.

A major part of the draft Annual Business Plan for Council was working in the increased green organics collection to fortnightly and absorb the impact of China's ban on importing contaminated recycling, all while meeting the ongoing pressures of maintaining and renewing council infrastructure.

The green waste collection change from monthly to fortnightly will kick in on the first of January 2020, with the first six months expected to cost $365,000, from there on the yearly cost has been estimated at $560,000.