City's Biggest Budget Ever

Published on Saturday, 24 July 2021 at 2:41:00 PM

On Monday night, I was proud to see Council adopt the City biggest budget ever, with a planned expenditure of $135million for this financial year. Whilst I was reluctant to have to support a rates increase, it was necessary to allow us to achieve what we need to this coming year. We did manage to get it down to just 2.9% from a predicted 4%, and the last two years the Council has had a zero increase in rates. In the two years before that, the rates increases were CPI or lower, so over the course of the last four or five years, the rates have gone up by a very reasonable amount.

The City’s rates income makes up just 19% of the its annual income in 2021/22, and we expect to see this percentage decrease in coming years as the City continues to diversify its economic base and continues on the good work started by outgoing CEO John Walker.

The City is starting the year from a strong financial standpoint, bringing forward a budget surplus of $1.85million from last financial year, and we will focus this year on delivering on elements that are important to the community.

This year the budget includes an additional $100,000 for new community safety initiatives, which we know is a high priority for the community. Over coming weeks, what these initiatives look like, and how they will be rolled out, will be considered by Council, but there are some strong suggestions on how we can improve community safety that we are keen to see implemented.

Something that is one of my particular focuses in the budget is the inclusion of $100,000 for our continuing street tree replacement, and we will be planting a record number of trees this year, for the third year in a row. While there are no obvious immediate benefits, once the trees mature future generations will appreciate the efforts of today.

We have also included in the budget $100,000 for upgrades to the recreational areas at Lake Douglas, on top of the regular maintenance, which will make it a more appealing place for everyone to visit. There’s also $120,000 for new outdoor exercise equipment, and $250,000 for a new Christmas Tree and new decorations, to make our celebrations bigger and better. We have also set aside more than $800,000 to carry out extensive renovation works on both the Boulder and Kalgoorlie Town Halls, which are the civic heart of our community, and crowning jewels on our two historic main streets.

Some of the key infrastructure spending includes $15million for the Kalgoorlie City Centre Economic Transformation Project which we will see get underway later this year, and $2million for the Hannan Street Footpaths project, which will start next month.

All in all, we are in a strong financial position as the City moves into its next phase, for which much of the thanks goes to John Walker, who has taken the City’s finances from the 139th out of 140 councils in Western Australia to be in the top 10 percent every year during his tenure at the City.

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