Tatiara District Council has adopted its Annual Business Plan and Budget - with projects worth more than $8 million - at a special council meeting on July 1.
Recognising the impact of COVID-19, council resolved to reduce the general rate increase proposed in the draft budget from 2.1 per cent to 0.7 per cent.
Mayor Graham Excell said the proposed budget had been prepared during what are uncertain times. "The health emergency has changed the way we live and do business. While restrictions are easing, some of these changes will likely stay with us for a long time," Mr Excell said.
"We have reduced the general rates increase projected in our draft to 0.7 per cent and maintained CWMS charges at the 2019/20 levels.
Unfortunately, the cost of waste and recycling processing has increased significantly in recent times, and we had to increase our refuse collection and disposal charge by $10 to recover some of these costs."
In its largest budget in years, council expects to raise operating revenue of $17,314,742, compared to operating expenditure of $17,420,893, resulting in a small deficit of $106,151.
"The budget reflects a very busy works schedule for the 2020/21 financial year, thanks in large part to substantial grants funding," Mr Excell said.
"Where our capital expenditure in a normal year usually sits somewhere between $4 - $5.3 million, this year we have budgeted for $8.3 million in capital projects - including capital grants income of $2.3 million."
Construction and improvement of local infrastructure will be a critical stimulus for the recovery of the local economy. Highlights of the proposed $8.3 million capital works program include:
Pigeon Flat Road widening: total cost $500,000 - seeking Special Local Roads Program (SLRP) funding of $330,000.
Tatiara Road widening: total cost $400,000 - seeking SLRP funding of $270,000.
Victoria Parade Bridge replacement: total cost $420,000 - seeking Bridges Renewal Program funding of $210,000.
Bordertown Airstrip reseal: total cost $204,000 - Federal Government funding of $102,000 has been approved.
Keith Industrial Estate Stage 2: total cost $600,000 for the creation of five additional allotments off Old Wynarling Road.
Footpath Projects: Bruce Avenue (Keith), and McLeod Street, Cannawigara Road and DeCourcey Street (Bordertown).
Bordertown Caravan Park development: total cost $1.4m - funded equally by council and the Federal Government.
Council said the caravan park project will provide economic benefit to the district during construction and from increased visitation upon its completion.
The budget also allocates $30,000 towards economic development to drive the implementation of council's Economic Development and Tourism Strategy.
Along with the implementation of 15 projects totalling more than $1.2m under the Federal Government's Drought Communities Programme.
The projects range from the redevelopment of the football change rooms at Padthaway, to the installation of dryland soil moisture probes and weather stations.
Other projects also include; the resurfacing of the Mundulla netball courts and lighting upgrades for the track at the Tatiara Karting Club.
"We are very aware of the extra burden council rates may mean for some of our residents and businesses that have been badly affected by COVID-19 restrictions," mayor Excell said.
"The Local Government Act provides that councils can grant rates relief due to hardship or extenuating circumstances.
"Please contact the council office for a confidential discussion if you are experiencing hardship."
For further information, please contact Tatiara District Council on ph. 08 8752 1044, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.