Planned budget savings will result in service cuts across Alexandrina

Reduced budget means service cuts: Alexandrina's elected members have signed off on a Draft Budget for 2020-21 which includes a reduced 1.2 per cent rates rise. Photo: Mayor Keith Parkes.
Reduced budget means service cuts: Alexandrina's elected members have signed off on a Draft Budget for 2020-21 which includes a reduced 1.2 per cent rates rise. Photo: Mayor Keith Parkes.

Budget saving measures identified as part of Alexandrina Council's draft Annual Business Plan and Budget 2020-21 will result in a cut to community services equivalent to $85,000 per annum.

The service cuts include a potential reduction of hours at council facilities including libraries and less funding for community programs.

Pursuing these cuts has however allowed the council to propose a 1.2 per cent rates increase, the lowest in Alexandrina's history.

A council spokesperson said the the draft plan reflects a commitment to help the region rebuild and recover from the impacts of COVID-19.

"In response to the financial pressure we know is being felt within our community, the proposed average general rate increase is 1.2 per cent for 2020-21," said the spokesperson.

"The draft plan reflects council's commitment to maintaining and providing services and facilities that benefit our residents, ratepayers, visitors and natural environment."

Proposed service cuts include a review of library opening hours and models of service delivery to "balance community needs and demands in an efficient way".

These cuts are expected to result in a variation of opening hours and savings of about $40,000 per annum.

Further public facilities are also likely to be affected, with the council to conduct a review of "public conveniences".

This is expected to result in further annual savings of $10,000.

Also in the firing line is the council's catering budget, with cuts planned for catering associated with meetings and events, creating anticipated savings of $15,000 per year.

Three community programs will also be affected, As Alexandrina cuts costs through a reduction in their contributions to programs, events and art in the region.

The council has proposed a $9000 reduction in its Community Donation Program, leaving the fund with $30,000 per year.

A reduction is also planned for the council's Public Art Budget, equivalent to $6000 per year. This would leave a remaining $20,000 for public art each year.

The Goolwa Rotary Art Prize will also be affected, copping a 50 per cent reduction in council support, equivalent to $5000.

A full description of proposed service cuts is available within Alexandrina Council's draft Annual Business Plan and Budget 2020-21, which is on display at council offices and libraries; and can also be viewed online via: alexandrina.sa.gov.au

The draft Business Plan and Budget are currently open to community feedback, with residents and ratepayers encouraged to view plans and have their say.

Feedback is encouraged through the council's My Say site via: mysay.alexandrina.sa.gov.au/ABP2020- and is open until July 6, 2020.