No new bright spots in budget for local government

By: LGA acting-president Mayor James Maitland
Local Government Association, South Australia acting-president Mayor James Maitland said that a small boost to black spot local road funding and sporting facilities grants last year had been maintained but there were no new bright spots for Local Government in general this year.
I am pleased the State looks like retaining its AAA credit rating because that affects Council borrowing costs.
While I understand Treasurer Snelling needs to try to balance his books, I think opportunities are being lost for the State to work more productively for communities in partnerships with Local Government using joint funding.
When you see per capita funding to councils in Western Australia running at double the rate in South Australia you realize the size of the impact on council budgets.
This will be further hit with the increase in the Solid Waste Levy from 1 July estimated to cost Councils about $1.7 million which will make Council’s work in recycling more difficult.
This will take the impost on rates up to more than $10 million while more than $20 million is sitting unspent in the Waste to Resources Fund.
I welcome the ongoing commitment and indexation for 2011/12 to a number of programs under multi-year inter-government agreements in areas such as libraries, stormwater and community wastewater.
I also welcomed State investment in a number of specific one-off projects including major roadworks and a sports hub in Port Augusta, a leisure centre in Campbelltown, and five metropolitan stormwater harvesting projects and to the Riverland Sustainable Futures Fund.
Communities would be disappointed that while the State is projecting an increase from $33.5 million to $33.8 million in concessions on Council rates, it appeared there was no change in the concession level but simply a projected increase in the number of pensioners.


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