Mr Darren Kruse
We have passed a smart, targeted budget where if you’re COVID affected, you will get a 10% rebate on your rates. With a less than CPI increase of 1.91% ($34pa) for those that are not COVID affected (all public servants) we have budgeted to deliver all existing services while keeping the debt under control and maintaining our financial sustainability. As noted by our independent Audit Committee “The plan demonstrates ongoing financial sustainability, on the basis that all key financial indicators are within accepted parameters set by the Local Government Authority”.
The jewel in that budget is a provision for the long overdue Blackwood Hub that while has a headline price tag of $20M, is only going to cost Council around $7M in nett terms after we take into account the $5M from Federal Government, the $5M we have asked for from SA Government and the eventual sale of the surplus old library and adjoining land. With these down payments, we have positioned our budget to be shovelready and have shown the SA Government that we are prepared to put our own skin in the game.
Premier Steven Marshall addressed Council via Zoom and was supportive of all levels of government investing in important community infrastructure. From his point of view, SA Government will get a $20 million build for $5 million and it’s exactly the type of stimulus spending they want. Mayor Heather wrote to the Premier on 3 September with letters of support from Steve Murray MP and Nicolle Flint MP. The project has since been supported in writing by Sam Duluk, the Member for Waite.
Pleasingly, under the last Council we spent exactly $6.94M on the upgrade to the Mitcham Memorial Library, so equity between the Hills and the Plains is preserved – not that you would think that from listening to the debates! When the SA Government steps up, we WILL build this intergenerational facility that will become the heart of Blackwood, linking via a $2M connecting boulevard Foodland and Coles.
The Sturt Lions soccer club will get a new artificial soccer pitch and two-story clubrooms. The $2.85M project with $2M from the Federal Government, $700K from Council and $150K of their own money will break ground soon.
The 2020/21 budget also includes:
- the massive solar upgrade saving $370K pa in electricity
- $668K at Hawthorndene Oval for new cricket club clubhouse and changerooms
- $100K for Sturt Linear Shared Use Path
Looking forward, residents of Craigburn Farm and Blackwood South will soon be consulted on opening additional BUSHFIRE exit(s) onto Cummings Street during the fire danger season. Currently 1000 residents have just one way out - to the east onto Coromandel Parade. That's a recipe for disaster. Ideally, residents would leave prior to dangerous days, so we will also ask "Do you leave on extreme or catastrophic days, and if not why not?."
We are planning how to spend the budgeted $30K on Christmas celebrations to ensure we are all COVID safe. Hang in there everyone – we will get through this.