Annual and Long Term Business Plans and Budget 2012 2013
The City of Mitcham has set its 2012 2013 budget to implement key strategies, identified by the community, in Council’s Strategic Management Plan, available on Council’s website at www.mitchamcouncil.sa.gov.au/tomorrow This Strategic Plan ensures day to day activities are consistently focused on the issues of most importance for Council and the community, while ensuring that sustainability is a guiding principle of the plan.
The budget provides for an operating deficit from Council operations of approximately $1.1 million which along with the advance payments of the Federal assistance grant of $1 million received in 2011 results in a total operating deficit of $2.1 million dollars for 2012 2013.
Council is committed to balancing the budget by 2014 2015 to ensure it is operating in a financially sustainable way and this budget takes a step towards that objective through a combination of revenue increases and service efficiencies. As part of that committment, Council will be undertaking a review of services and service efficiencies during 2012 2013.
Council will continue to provide existing services and deliver new and enhanced services and operating initiatives to benefit the community as well ensuring that State and Federal Government’s legislative requirements are met.
A priority of this budget continues to be to address Council’s infrastructure backlog through the expenditure of $12.5 million on asset renewal including our road network, drainage systems, footpaths and community buildings.
To ensure the success of the plan and the continual development and maintenance of our City and services, homeowners will pay an average of 6.0% more in rates this financial year and an increase in the differential loading for commercial properties from 70% to 80%. This means the average residential rates will increase from $1,269 to $1,345, an increase of $76 or $1.46 per week.
Maximum Rate Increase for Residential Ratepayers
Council has extended the rate capping scheme to all rate payers, not just residential. This will assist residential and commercial/industrial ratepayers who would otherwise have incurred a rate increase greater than 12.5%. A rebate will be granted to eligible ratepayers. For details of eligibility call 8372 8888, or click here.
Rates income is used to provide a range of essential everyday services such as road rehabilitation, footpath repairs and maintenance, stormwater drainage, the collection of rubbish and recyclable materials, ongoing maintenance of parks, gardens and buildings, street lighting and street cleaning, libraries, animal control, planning and enforcement of local laws.
The increase in rates income will be used to implement key strategies including maintaining the City’s ageing infrastructure, which includes our roads, footpaths and stormwater drainage systems, new footpaths, additional street tree planting and the continuation of Council’s footpath replacement program and bushfire prevention.
Local Government has produced four fact sheets to assist residents to understand what is involved in Council's rating processes and the legislation within which they operate, what is involved and how it works.
Highlights from the Budget
Additional Allocation for Maintenance on Street Trees
Development of Various Master Plans for Recreation and Open Space Areas
Development of Council's Strategic Directions Report
Review of Residential Policy
Community Engagement for Strategic Plan
Development of a Heritage Development Plan Assessment and a Watercourse Development Assessment
Review ofCommunityLandManagement Agreements inColonelLightGardens
Develop Traffic Management Plans for Clapham Area
Brownhill Creek and Keswick Creek Investigations
Brownhill Creek Maintenance Pilot Project
Review of Youth Strategy
Development of Stormwater Management Plans
SturtRiverLinear Park Stage 3 Plan
Development of City ofMitcham BikePlan
Elector Representation review
Blackwood Traffic Management Investigation
Recognition of Local Government in the Constitution Campaign
TOTAL OPERATING PROJECTS
New Services for the Community
City West (Land and Buildings)
City West Car Park
Brown hill and Keswick Creeks Stormwater Management
Lynton Depot – Safety and Risk Upgrade
Lynton / Eden Hills Monitoring Probes
Hayman Retreat,Craigburn Farm RoadClosure
Plant and Fleet Upgrades
Riverside DriveFitness Equipment
Council Chamber Audio Equipment Installation
Volunteer Co-ordinator and Vehicle
Incomplete New Capital Works from 2011/2012
Mitcham Council like most other Local Government bodies throughout Australia now finds itself faced with a need to increase the provision of funds for infrastructure - roads, footpaths and stormwater - in order to ensure the maintenance of the standards of these assets particularly in respect to its assets. While Council is ensuring that the majority of its roads are maintained to their current or better standard, the costs of reconstructing failed roads are substantial. Most of our City's bridges are also old and beginning to fail and these are expensive to repair or replace.
The City of Mitcham will be spending $16.8 million on assets of which $12.5 million will be spent on renewing existing assets and reducing the backlog. A further $4.3 million will be spent on constructing or acquiring new assets. The table below shows the different assets on which it is proposed to expend these funds.
Renewal of Assets
Kerb and Water Table
Open Space, Ovals, Reserves, Tennis Courts
Plant (trucks, cars etc), Equipment and Furniture
Construction of New Assets
Traffic Safety Improvements
Open Space Ovals, Reserves, Tennis Courts
Plant (trucks, cars etc), Equipment and Furniture
Total Capital Expenditure
Where Your Money Is Going
Fees and Charges
Council's core business is to provide a comprehensive range of works, services and facilities to meet the needs of all sectors of our community on a daily basis. The primary source of income to finance these activities is rates.
Services we provide
Blackwood and Mitcham District Centre Beautification
City West Project
Dog and Cat Management
Environmental Health Control
Green Organic Depot
Domestic Hard Waste Collection
Heritage Management and Advice
Land Acquisition for Open Space
Natural Heritage Projects
Parks and Gardens
Pest Control eg European Wasps
Pest Plant and Weed Control
Public and Environmental Health Management
Review and Development of Planning Policy
Waste Management Education
Community Development Grants and General Donations
Community Information Service
Positive Ageing and Community Care
Improving Accessibility for the Disabled
Local History Service
Toy Library Service
Volunteer Support and Development
Bus Shelters and Street Furniture
Roads and Bridges
Stormwater Management, Construction and Maintenance
Traffic Management and Control
Infrastructure Works Program
Council is responsible for maintaining 399kms of roads throughout the City. A further 63kms of arterial or 'main' roads are the responsibility of the Department of Transport, Energy and Infrastructure. The estimated current replacement cost of Council's roads is $165 million. A large majority of Council's Roads were established in the mid 1900s and as a result the seal and pavement components of the roads are requiring a significant level of rehabilitation to maintain an appropriate level of service for residents. This financial year Council has allocated $3.1 million for the rehabilitation of Council's road network.
The Federal Governments 'Roads to Recovery' program is contributing approximately $0.26 million toward the rehabilitation of Council's road network this financial year.
Kerb and Watertable
Kerb and watertable is the edge of a road which delineates the road surface from the nature strip and provides effective stormwater drainage control along the road. Council manages in excess of 790kms of kerb infrastructure at an estimated current replacement cost of $209 million. This financial year Council has allocated $1.7 million for the replacement of Council's kerb network.
The Federal Governments 'Roads to Recovery' program is contributing approximately $0.29 million toward the rehabilitation of Council's kerbing network this financial year.
Council is responsible for providing and maintaining an extensive footpath network in the City. The existing bitumen footpath network has a high rate of deterioration with an associated maintenance liability. The community also has a high expectation that the poor condition bitumen footpaths will be replaced and new footpaths constructed.
Council manages over 495kms of footpaths with a current replacement cost of $58 million. Approximately 60% of the total footpath network has now been paved.
The footpath construction program is derived and prioritised from information relating to the condition of existing footpaths; hierarchy of the road; traffic volume; and proximity to facilities such as schools, aged care and shopping precincts etc.
This financial year Council has allocated $1.8 million for the replacement of existing asphalt footpaths in poor condition. Council has also allocated $0.48 million for the installation of new footpaths to extend the existing footpath network.
Due to the close proximity of the City of Mitcham to the Central Business District and the high through movement of traffic, the management of traffic issues continues to have a high importance. Strategic initiatives and actions will be implemented to:
- Reduce the road network speeds.
- Improve safety around schools.
- Improve road safety in local areas.
- Conduct road safety audits to identify road safety issues at priority locations.
Localised community task groups have been established to examine local area road safety issues and develop actions to improve road safety in streets.
The traffic program continues the actions to improve road safety in local areas.
Council renews, maintains and upgrades old stormwater systems and develops new systems to handle the extra flows to reduce local and major flooding problems. Maintenance of the drainage system is also undertaken to minimise the flooding potential and the amount of pollutant entering the waterways and eventually into the Patawalonga.
Reserves Works Program
Parks, Gardens and Sporting Development
Council maintains over 220 open space areas throughout the City varying in size from small parks to large open space woodland reserves.
In 2012 2013 Council will continue to minimise the use of water in response to Government's water restrictions as well as Council's environmental goal to reduce water consumption generally for the sake of the River Murray and local reservoirs. Council is investigating using alternative water supplies rather than mains water.
Drought tolerant plants including native grasses and understorey plants will be used in garden beds, roundabouts and road side islands as well as recycling wood chips and mulch that are generated from our street tree maintenance program.
Council owns a large number of recreation and leisure facilities including ovals, soccer pitches, baseball grounds, skate facilities, tennis courts etc which are available for community use. The changing needs of the community are considered to ensure that appropriate facilities are provided, and that there is an equitable distribution of opportunities. Council is improving soil and turf management of Mitcham's recreational areas in order to reduce water use as well as provide a quality playing surface. The maintenance and upgrading of these facilities as well as the development of new facilities ensures quality recreational opportunities for community members and sustainable use by Council.
Street Tree Planting Works Program
Council is working to ensure Mitcham's leafy environment is preserved into the future. As all trees have a limited life expectancy, an ongoing tree planting program is essential. To ensure that planting continues, Council's strategic plan has set a minimum requirement of one thousand trees to be planted annually. Trees are planted in three annual programs:
1. The tree development program establishes and restores avenues of street trees.
2. The tree maintenance program replaces trees lost due to natural causes, accidents etc.
3. The reserve planting program establishes new plantings in reserves, parks, garden beds etc.
Council requires that these programs are managed in the most effective and efficient manner, with the flexibility to adopt best practices as they continually evolve. To ensure the tree development program targets the areas of greatest need a comprehensive geographic information systems based street tree audit is underway. Programs are planned to replace those trees identified as in poor condition or with short life expectancies. This approach not only maintains amenity but also assists risk management and hazard minimisation.
Council monitors arboriculture and nursery industry progress to benefit from any advances. Trees with improved growth characteristics have the potential to increase community and environmental benefit while reducing ongoing costs. As an Institutional Member of Treenet, Council supports small scale trial plantings of alternative trees in our suburbs. Council is actively searching for and trailing additional suitable native species to provide habitat and help reduce water consumption, the Wilga being one example.
How Changes in Valuations Affect You
Rates are a tax levied on properties according to their capital values which are determined by the Valuer General. In 2012 the average residential property in the City was valued at $480,528. Rates payable on this property will be $1,345, an increase of $76 or $1.46 a week. This translates into a rate increase of 6%.
Many people believe that rate increases are inevitable when property valuations are on the rise. THIS IS NOT TRUE! Increases in council rates are not directly related to increases in property valuations. Calculating the amount of money Council requires from rates is a three step process outlined as follows:
- Determine which services Council will provide to its community and identify the costs of providing these services.
- Identify the amount of money which is available from other sources such as grants, statutory fees and charges, fines investment income, transfers from reserves and loans.
- Only after steps one and two have been completed can Council identify how much money it requires to raise from rates in order to balance its budget.
Council then calculates the rate in the dollar by dividing the amount of money it requires from rate revenue by the total value of all the ratable properties. Once this has been calculated, rates on individual properties are calculated by multiplying the value of each property by the respective rate in the dollar.
Council calculates its average rate increase by multiplying the average value of all the properties within its boundaries by the rate in the dollar. The average value is calculated by dividing the total value of all properties by the number of properties. This means that if every property increased in value by the same percentage from one year to the next, the rates individual owners paid would only increase by the average rate increase.
Of course, properties do not all increase in value by the same percentage. This means that despite Council adopting a rate increase designed to increase its revenue by a certain amount of money some ratepayers face increases that are higher than the average. For every ratepayer who pays an increase greater than the average there is a rate payer whose rate increases is less than the average.
No-one likes to pay taxes, but the fact is that Council makes no profit from its works for our community. It attempts to identify what money is necessary to maintain the community's infrastructure - roads, footpaths, Stormwater etc - and what types and standards of other services the community wants. Every dollar raised through rates is spent on the community.
Ratepayers who are concerned about their property valuations may appeal to the Valuer-General who will reconsider their property values. Council is not able to change these valuations.
Why Do Our Rates Continue to Increase?
- Grants from Federal and State Governments continue to fall in real terms.
- The costs of road construction are increasing at a rate exceeding CPI movements.
- Responsibilities for delivering various services to the community are being transferred from Federal and State Governments to Local Government with little or no funding.
- To maintain and improve the Council’s infrastructure including roads, kerbing and watertabling, footpaths, bridges and Stormwater.
- Increasing costs of managing weed control to protect our unique native bushland areas from infestation and bushfire.
- The community prefers Council to maintain, rather then reduce the existing service standards.
- Additional costs have been imposed on Council by Federal and State legislation such as the Carbon Tax, Roofing Truss Regulations, Waste Management Levy, additional Tree Assessment Legislation and Internal Control Regulations.
The City of Mitcham has prepared a Rating Policy for 2011 2012. The aim of this policy is to provide a clear set of rules that is endorsed by Council which determines rates and the reasons for its rating decisions and approach. The policy sets a framework for the rating decision that includes:
- Method used for and adoption of valuations;
- Structure or rating;
- Business impact statement;
- Council's collection role such as for the Natural Resources Management levy;
- Rate relief;
- Capping relocate and;
- Payment of rates and late payment of rates.
This process helps to ensure a Council's accountability to the local community.
2012 2013 Rating Policy (111 kb)
Natural Resources Management Levy
Natural Resource Management levy contributions are calculated on the value of your land, and are then charged annually through your Council rates. Council collects the levy in its area on behalf of your regional Natural Resource Management Board as is required under the Natural Resources Management Act 2004, but acts only as a revenue collector and does not retain any levy income.
What is the Natural Resources Management Levy?
The landscapes of the Adelaide and the Mount Lofty Ranges region vary remarkably - from the built-up city, suburbs and towns, to farmland, remnant bushland, rolling hills and plains, and more than 200 kilometres of spectacular coast. Stretching from the Barossa Valley in the north to the Fleurieu Peninsula in the south, it is also the most biologically diverse region in South Australia, with half of the State's species of native plants and three-quarters of its native birds. But 170 years of development have had a major ecological impact on these landscapes, native habitats and our marine environment. The biodiversity of many ecosystems is at risk from new and existing threats, including development, climate change, pests and the fragmentation of remnant vegetation.Natural resources management, or NRM, is about ensuring that we wisely manage and protect what we still have and, where we can, restore what's been lost. The NRM Levy funds this vital work.
Everyone who lives and works in the region has an impact on the environment. As such, we all share a responsibility to take care of our precious soil, water, landscapes, marine environments, native animals and plants and ecosystems. Your contribution through the NRM levy will help to fund the vital work needed to care for and enhance these environmental assets. In the AMLR region, the regional NRM levy is charged to every rateable property.
For further information about how your regional NRM Levy is working for you and your local environment click here, go to http://www.amlrnrm.sa.gov.au/, or phone the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Board on 8273 9100.