Ms Yvonne Todd
I hope you have been able to find some positive outcomes from your experience with Covid and I wish you a happy future as we move out of lockdown.
Since March, council staff have worked under difficult circumstances, to provide community support where possible and were quick to set up IT functions so that staff, elected members and residents could continue to interact. I give a big thank you to all the staff.
I am proud that we were the first council to put in place financial support for residents and business though a targeted rate relief package. Information about available support is on the City of Mitcham web page.
This year, in the budget setting context, discussion about rate rises and spending is more contentious than ever. There are very polarised views amongst elected members between those wanting to borrow and spend and those who want to minimize borrowing. State and federal governments have weighted into the argument and are advising local government to increase borrowings for major building projects, with a sweetener of contributing funding towards the projects.
Sadly, there are financial challenges facing us individually and as a Nation, as we see the effect of high household and national debt and high unemployment.
So, I do not support increased rates and debt for major infrastructure projects that can not directly employ residents or local businesses. I prefer intensified progress on already funded capital works projects. It might require council to take on more casual employees (good for reducing the unemployment rate) or to contract local businesses to do the work (good for improving the local economy) but both are great options for improving the local economy. It would reduce the overdue backlog of work such as footpaths, rubberized roads, drainage improvements, bike paths, playgrounds and parks without increasing debt. If you feel strongly one way or the other about local government spending, debt and finances, please share your views with me by email or phone.
On a different topic, I am personally saddened by the Education Minister John Gardner and the local MP for Elder Caroline Power, in their continuation of the review of Springbank Secondary College. The school is not only our local education facility but also a significant community asset and the review will include ongoing community usage and ownership options for the Basketball SA stadium and heritage listed Tower Arts Centre on the school site. The beauty of SSC is that it is a small-by-design secondary school that partners with Flinders University for delivering a STEAM focus. The threat to its future is very sad. The community has been clear in its view that the school should be left alone. Please contribute to the review by writing a letter. More information is available on the school web site. https://www.education.sa.gov.au/sites-and-facilities/education-and-care-locations/springbank-secondary-college-review
Please call me or email me if you want to discuss Council issues.