Rates may rise 3.5% but no civic centre swap in draft budget

2639 Damien Ryan 1 OK

 

By ERWIN CHLANDA

 

Town Council rates are proposed to rise by 3.5%, Mayor Damien Ryan (above) announced this morning.

 

That would mean the minimum rates for the 2019/20 financial year would be $1332.77 for the majority of the rated land, generating $12.7m in income.

 

Rural land minimum rates will be $1345.50 and commercial, $1405.74.

 

The draft municipal plan, due to be adopted on June 24, is now open for public comment.

 

The draft budget does not include any allocation for the proposed move of the civc centre to the Anzac Precinct, to make room for the proposed national Aboriginal art gallery, as part of a and swap deal between the NT Government and council.

 

There is no allocation for the relocation in the NT Budget either, although it includes a $48m allocation for the gallery.

 

Coupled with the fact that the government still has no Business Case for the gallery, its future seems as uncertain as ever, although Arts Minister Lauren Moss says: “The Government has an active application over the Alice Springs Town Council site for an Authority Certificate which is duly being considered by the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority.”

 

Asked whether the absence of a budget allocation means that nothing will be happening with the gallery in 2019/20, Mayor Ryan said: “It is not something we would budget for. There was an offer from the government to talk with us and we have agreed in principle to have that talk. We couldn’t budget for something we don’t know what the costs are.”

 

Is it expected that it will cost the council nothing to move its civic centre?

 

Mayor Ryan: “We won’t know that until those discussions have been had.”

 

Ms Moss said last week that a Business Case “is close to completion and expected to be presented to Government in coming weeks.”

 

The government called a tender for a Business Case last year after the Alice Springs News pointed out that none existed.

 

Government front bencher Dale Wakefield said at the time it would be completed by late November last year. The gallery’s interim director Mark Crees announced it for March this year.

 

The total proposed Town Council budget is $35.5m, roughly half of which ($17.9m) is employee costs. Materials and contracts will cost $8.3m and other operating expenses, $5m.

 

Council rangers will cost $1.2m and general litter control $1.25m.

 

Parks and reserves costs are listed as $1.4m and the library, $1.9m.

 

The proposed costs for the town pool are $3.3m. Mayor Ryan said recommendations from consultants about increasing patronage are being implemented.

 

The operation of the landfill is proposed at $3.1m.

 

Included in the budget plan is $705,000 towards ongoing tree planting and maintenance but only $120,000 towards Youth Action Group (just $20,000 more than for public toilet refurbishment), and $50,000 towards after hours basketball, an initiative to keep young people out of trouble at night.

 

Kerbside recycling is on hold. A trial for disposing organics is under way with 200 users.

 

Annual waste management charges are $67.70 per dwelling without collection and $364.95 with collection.

 

Other fees have been held to 1% increase or less.

 

 

 

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11 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. Karen
    Posted June 4, 2019 at 3:41 pm

    Sorry, not at all happy with such a large increase when in reality us rate payers don’t see much for our hard earned cash.
    Why are we paying for youth action group and basketball – its not my kids running amuck.
    Council, you should be getting government funds for this.

    View Comment
  2. Tina Schembri
    Posted June 4, 2019 at 10:52 am

    Noted the rural area rates base rate is $1345. Not sure why we are given a fixed figure. Interested in knowing?
    It will obviously happen, q 3.5% increase.
    Please consider rural areas for roadworks as the Palm Circuit, causeway and access road up to the Ross Highway has been in disrepair for years (as long as I can remember).
    No upgrade in this area for the road. Very overdue considering we have three large caravan parks in this area.
    Also Heenan Road was half sealed 2018, verges were not done and the work just stopped. Need to look at jobs to be completed, please.
    Thank you.

    View Comment
  3. Hal Duell
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 1:30 pm

    I love it that the “gallery” has an interim director. Maybe similar to Venezuela having an interim president, or someone who is an interim boss over something that actually isn’t.
    And now we learn that the NT government is seeking an Authority Certificate over the Civic Centre block from AAPA.
    Say what?
    And where is our Assange when we need him. Wouldn’t you love to know what those tricksters are up to in there?

    View Comment
  4. Watch'n
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 11:35 am

    Corrections do a lot of the event cleanup and river / drain slashing already.

    View Comment
  5. Psuedo Guru
    Posted May 30, 2019 at 9:34 am

    Inmates can do many physical council jobs – a positive initiative to reduce rates.

    View Comment
  6. James T Smerk
    Posted May 30, 2019 at 8:51 am

    Instead of “general litter control $1.25m” why not use inmates from the Correctional Centre to perform these duties? Much like School, if you are naughty you get rubbish collection duties. That frees up some cash.
    While they are there they could do all the upkeep at the town parks too. Moving from one park to the next mowing, painting and fixing the equipment. There is more cash freed up.
    I don’t see why more general duties are not performed by inmates. Obviously the low risk inmates. It gives them a purpose and builds their skills and abilities.
    Maybe Corrections could take over the landfill too. They have an abundance of manpower/womanpowe. Use it instead of locking them away with little self-improvement opportunities.

    View Comment
  7. Evelyne
    Posted May 29, 2019 at 5:25 pm

    The rates payers are the employers of the Council (Mayor, Councillors) and the subcontractors (CEO and all others employees) and as such we have the right to demand a performance year review/report, like :
    Communication with the public.
    Collaboration and teamwork (no stabbing in the back between councillors).
    Problem-solving? Nothing done for children shelter!
    Attendance and dependability, quality and accuracy of work.
    No attendance to meetings only with a very valid reason.
    Ability to accomplish goals and meet deadlines: Give us a list of achieved goals.

    View Comment
  8. Watch'n
    Posted May 29, 2019 at 5:16 pm

    $1.25m litter?? Surely thats a very general and open budget line or something. Used for more than litter, which is 95% manual labour by a dozen or so staff.

    View Comment
  9. Jack
    Posted May 28, 2019 at 10:01 pm

    Time for refunds for a broken mall, roads with potholes, lack of footpaths in various neighbourhoods. Lack of councillors with petty issues that cost us and their commitment for their terms the people voted for, time for them to refund the public money given to them.

    View Comment
  10. Another Observer
    Posted May 28, 2019 at 8:43 pm

    Give us a bloody break – the council can’t even be bothered engaging local suppliers, but expect us to stump up year after year.
    The poor taxpayer is funding how many levels of government? And for what?

    View Comment
  11. James T Smerk
    Posted May 28, 2019 at 4:13 pm

    “$705,000 towards ongoing tree planting and maintenance but only $120,000 towards Youth Action Group.” Wow. There are your priorities, Alice Springs.

    View Comment

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