Council releases draft Annual Budget

Barossa Council’s draft Annual Budget and Business Plan proposes a return to a modest operating deficit of $12,000 next financial year.

Council has supported a strategy in 2014-15 of minimal new spending and a focus on existing services and budget stability.

The proposed average rate and charges increase across all properties will be 4.9% plus any growth, however this depends on valuation and services provided at each individual property.

There will be a small increase in charges for waste water management (2%) and waste and recycling (2.9%).

On average residential ratepayers will see a 4.47% increase on their overall rates. Based on the average house value of $309,000 this equates to $1842 – up $79 on last year.

It will also be the last year of the Barossa Aquatic and Fitness Separate Rate (the Rex).

Mayor Brian Hurn said Council had faced multiple challenges including growing cost of services and reduced levels of support from other tiers of government.

“In light of these challenges we believe we have again produced a balanced budget,” he said.

“Importantly, we have maintained our current levels of service but also further invested in roads, footpaths and infrastructure, which has been a longstanding community priority.

“Under our Long-Term Financial Plan rates were forecast to rise above 4.9 per cent and we have managed to keep to that overall average by exercising discretion in other areas of the budget.”

Key initiatives in this year’s budget include:

● Additional funding for rural road re-sheeting ($300,000)

● Barossa Cycle Hub ($189,000)

● Talunga Park toilet facility, Mount Pleasant ($150,000)

● Mount Pleasant town centre improvements ($40,000)

● Angaston town centre improvements ($40,000)

● Cabin replacement at Nuriootpa Centennial Park ($460,000) (Park funds and external borrowing)

● Strategic Projects Program ($30,000)

● Barossa Cycle Hub feature wall ($25,000) (Tanunda Town Committee Reserve Funds)

The budget includes a total comprehensive capital works program of $6.7m, with $2.9m for resealing and resheeting roads and footpaths; $125,000 for repairing community buildings; and $445,000 for stormwater and drainage in townships.