The end of the financial year always comes with a high number of important tasks to complete all at once, including the adoption of our annual budget during the middle of a COVID-19 lockdown.
Council participated in a number of in-depth workshops in preparation for the annual budget coming to Council in late June, and I am proud to say that despite a COVID-19 lockdown curve ball being thrown right at the last minute, we forged on with the meeting (albeit with restrictions) and livestreamed it to our residents. Council passed another strong budget, which is balanced and debt-free, and contains only a modest rate rise of an average of 0.9% per resident – or approximately $10 more compared to pre-pandemic levels. The waste levy has been reduced by $5 compared to pre-pandemic levels.
Last year during the pandemic, we guaranteed no ratepayer was asked to pay more than they did the year before by applying a one-off COVID-19 credit. We are not aware of any other local government in Western Australia that took the same approach as the City of Stirling. At the same time, we also rolled out a $43.7 million COVID relief and stimulus package and we are proud to have supported our community during such a difficult time. This year, our modest rates increase compares well among other local governments in Western Australia and we are confident we can continue delivering excellent value for the services and facilities the City provides for the community.
During 2021/22, the City’s balanced budget will spend significant funds on the maintenance and improvement of its infrastructure. This includes:
- $32.5 million of capital building works
- $20.1 million on roads, drainage and footpaths
- $12.0 million on parks and reserves
- $4.0 million on rights of way.
I am proud of the budget we have passed, and every resident will soon receive a copy of our Rates Newsletter, which summarises the works and programs their rates support as we chart a path forward out of the pandemic.
We have a bold vision for Stirling, and in June we publicly spoke for the first time about what could potentially be the boldest idea yet; a wave park at the heart of the Stirling City Centre.
While a wave park is not formally endorsed by Council or the community, the concept aligns with Council’s intention to provide high quality community infrastructure within the Stirling City Centre, and there is huge potential for tourism, local jobs, economic benefit and development for this area.
The City’s 2021/22 annual budget includes $100,000 towards a Community Infrastructure Plan specifically for the Stirling City Centre. This plan will be used to identify community facilities that will meet the needs residents needs into the future and be an additional drawcard for the area.
On July 1, we also took formal control of the Hamersley Public Golf Course (HPGC) after months of careful handover planning, and we welcomed Clarke Osborne as the new course General Manager.
Under his leadership, the HPGC will grow from strength to strength, with further commitment to the course’s redevelopment contained within our 2021/22 annual budget and detailed designs have already been shared with the community in information sessions throughout June.
While Council is now in a short winter recess, the work of officers continues at full speed to ensure we are progressing towards the community’s vision for the City of Stirling into the new financial year. Through our new budget and bold vision for the future, we will continue to ensure that we steward the resources of our City and unlock the full capacity of our economy to ensure Stirling remains the City of Choice.
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