Public's voice heard

INFORMATION: Whyalla City Council Officers outlined the draft budget at a public consultation meeting at the Whyalla Library on Wednesday.
INFORMATION: Whyalla City Council Officers outlined the draft budget at a public consultation meeting at the Whyalla Library on Wednesday.

Residents were given the chance to have their say on the Whyalla City Council's Draft Annual Business Plan and Budget at a public consultation meeting on Wednesday.

The draft budget, which includes a proposed rate rise of 4 per cent, a $14 million roadworks program and a $9.4 million spend on capital works, was released for consultation in May.

A total of 18 locals turned out for the meeting at the Whyalla Public Library, including representatives from the Whyalla Residents & Ratepayers Association, to hear Council officers outline the key details of the budget.

Council CEO Chris Cowley said the 4 per cent rate rise would help fund major projects, new initiatives, the retention and improvement of services and the maintenance and increase of city assets.

"Nothing in this document, including the proposed rate rise of 4 per cent, is set in stone...it is all just carefully researched and formulate proposals that we want to run by residents and hear what community members think about the way forward," he said.

"This meeting, and the whole public consultation process, will keep the public informed and allow Council to gain valuable feedback on the 2019-2020 Draft Annual Business Plan and Budge.

"We have put together this draft document and we now want as much input as possible from the community before we implement it."

The Whyalla Residents & Ratepayers Association presented a number of questions based on the contents of the draft budget to the council at the meeting.

Questions were raised around council's schedule for completing the new Whyalla Jetty by 2020 and the impact the proposed rate rise could have on the community.

The WRRA had previously resolved at their June 4th meeting to urge council to approve a 0 per cent rate increase, though they were willing to accept an increase of no more than CPI in relation to the 2019/20 Budget.

Mr Cowley said council were able to answer a number of questions put forward by residents on the night, and were 'preparing responses to those we have received in writing and to clarify certain points'.

"Council was encouraged by the feedback and questions received from many different interested parties at the recent public consultation meeting on the 2019-2020 Draft Annual Business Plan and Budget," he said.

"Through our extensive public consultation process, we encourage all residents and community groups to make further submissions before the June 25 deadline.

"To help in this process we are inviting the community members to our next ordinary Council meeting on June 17 where they can ask any further questions."

The 2019-2020 Draft Annual Business Plan and Budget, Rating Policy, Draft Summary Fees and Charges and Draft Long Term Financial Plan documents can be viewed online on at http://www.whyalla.sa.gov.au/publicconsultation or obtain hard copies at the Council offices on Darling Terrace.

To allow the public a greater opportunity to have input, the deadline for submissions has now been extended to Tuesday, June 25, 2019. They can be put in writing to council@whyalla.sa.gov.au or by post Box 126, Whyalla SA 5600.