Council & Community Helping our Businesses during Covid-19

What are the ways of helping our Businesses during Covid-19.

 

2020-21 Draft Business Plan

2020-21 Draft Business Plan

The great news is our community has recognised how businesses can be impacted by economic downturns, just as workers. As a former small business operator myself, I have been heartened by the concern our community have shown our businesses.

So how can we help them.

 

….

At Community Level

I believe we all know we can help our local economy, our local businesses, is by using them in preference to going elsewhere. Please do this.

Not just when restrictions are removed but now. If they are open and can provide you goods or a service then check them out.

This applies, not just to our street traders, but our many home based businesses. We have many home based businesses. This includes lawyers, accountants, doctors, dentists, physiotherapists, podiatrists, chiropractors etc. It also includes builders and a myriad of tradies, including plumbers, sparkies, chippies, brickies, tilers, concretors, plasterboard fixers & flushers to name but a few.

They are all out there waiting for you to contact them.

At Council level

What can council do in helping our Businesses during Covid-19. We should take every opportunity to lead by example and seek out their goods and services as much as is possible.

We can also provide assistance in other ways.

As part of our budget process they too will get the advantage of the zero increase based budget noted in this morning’s blog post. With inflation at 2.4% this is a solid discount.

Beyond this, relevant street trader businesses will get an opportunity to have direct input into the levies they contribute to the promotion of their streets. I speak particularly of the 4 main streets. Goodwood Road. King William Road. Unley Road. Glen Osmond Road.

At my instigation, Council is asking the four street trader associations to ensure they have consulted with and received the backing of their members for the budgets they have submitted to us for next year. This is on the back (again at my instigation) of us requesting them to ensure the budgets proposed recognise the impacts on their members of Covid-19.

I expect therefore to be fully aware of the thoughts and suggestions of all the Association trader members. To not rely therefore on just the thoughts of the committees.

Any Other Initiatives.

Is it feasible for Councils to do such things as waive rates for businesses forced to close. This is being suggested in some quarters.

We would want to be very careful about waiving rates such that we restrict our financial capacity to contribute to a post Covid stimulus. We likewise would not want to pass this onto other rate payers.

It may be worth Council looking into utilising our current year surplus, whatever that is rather than use it to pay down debt. Food for thought.

City of Unley 2020-21 Annual Business Plan & Budget can be viewed here.

2020-21 Draft Business Plan

2020-21 Draft Business Plan

Interested in offering your opinion after reading my last blog post. Then the 2020-21 annual business plan and the budget can be viewed on the Council website. I encourage you to check it out and provide your opinion.

The web page includes links to our revised Community Plan 2033, to the Annual Business Plan & Budget, to our Long Term Financial Plan. There is a link also to a small explanatory video.

Rather just know the highlights, then read on.

From a Business Plan point of view Clarence Park Ward features well with the following initiatives included.

  • Road repairs & maintenance to East, Kelvin, Oakfield, Rosslyn & Birkdale Avenues, and Hammond Street.
  • Design of Millswood Croquet Clubrooms
  • Integrated Design for Mills Street (resulting from LATM 3) along with Stormwater drainage upgrade
  • Pedestrian Refuge adjacent Rise & Grind on East Avenue (also part of LATM 3).
  • Stormwater drainage upgrade for Francis Street, William Street and Birkdale Avenue
  • Clarence Park Community Centre to get an access control system upgrade and resurfacing of the hall floor.
  • Tennis SA to get wall crack repairs
  • Fairmont Tennis Centre to get fence repairs
  • Millswood Bowling Club to have their airconditioning replaced.
  • Page Park to get an irrigation upgrade
  • Princess Margaret Playground to get a soft fall paving upgrade

Other highlights include the following:

  • Acceleration of our tree planting program. An extra 440 trees planted to help improve our tree canopy cover.
  • The ever popular greening of verges continues. I would have loved to have seen the amount allocated increased, given we have a waiting list well capable of allowing this.
  • Protecting our significant trees by conducting a survey of our significant trees.
  • Continuation of the Brownhill Creek masterplan
  • Unley Gourmet Gala and Santos Tour Down Under remains in the budget. This may not occur if Covid-19 event restrictions remain. Could be a good way of celebrating the removal of same.
  • We have included planning for sesquicentennial celebrations likewise. Whether by way of events, or by other means we need to mark this milestone in our history. Any such celebration of course can be part of next years budget.

Your opinions matter. We need to hear from you about our draft budget.

Council has prepared a draft budget for next financial year, for the purposes of seeking input from you.  Your opinions matter. We need to hear from you.

 

2020-21 Draft Business Plan

2020-21 Draft Business Plan

The annual business plan and the budget can be viewed on the Council website from tomorrow. Your opinions matter so likewise information about how you can contribute to the final budget. Look out also for my next blog post highlighting some of the initiatives in the Annual Business Plan.

This has been as challenging a budget as we have dealt with in my time as a member of Council. The Covid-19 Pandemic and the restrictions placed on the community by the two other levels of Government are impacting us all. Impacting in conflicting ways.

We find that many of us have reduced incomes and therefore a reduced capacity to pay your rates. This includes workers and the business owners for whom they work. Those same people will need help in providing the opportunity for their jobs and their businesses to return to work.

The challenge for Council has been to balance directly competing needs. The first is to keep rates as low as possible for those of us who may be struggling financially. The second, but contradictory challenge, is to ensure this budget can assist with stimulating the local economy once restrictions are lifted.

The highlight therefore of this budget is it features a zero rate rise. But it does not hold back on providing the services we provide and the programs we have planned.

 

A zero rate rise, obviously designed to minimise the impact on your hip pocket. From your viewpoint, this is effectively a reduction in rates. This is because inflation is running at around 2% and we have not allowed for inflation in this budget.

This will be achieved by lowering the surplus from around 5% to 3%. The surplus is what we use to pay down debt. Our complimentary 10 year financial plan suggests we can reverse this over time.

For a deeper understanding of the Business Plan and the Budget watch out for my next blog post. Please take the opportunity to check it out and let us know what you think. Your opinions matter.

Budget 2019 to be work shopped

Budget 2019 to be work shopped as that time of year in the life of Local Government approaches.

Rate CappingA new Council, a new year, a new budget. That is Unley in 2019 as we prepare for a budget that will set the scene for the immediate future. The result will be budget 2019.

Your new Council will deliberate on and workshop a number of initiatives in the coming weeks before settling on a short list. A short list we will then seek your thoughts on.

The challenge (as always) will be to provide for our community what we believe they need at a cost they can afford.

At our last Council meeting we resolved that we seek to limit the rate rise for budget 2019 to within 1% of CPI. While the last Council achieved this during their term it remains a challenge for the new Council.

There is much we will be seeking to absorb into this Budget 2019 target.

New Goodwood Oval Clubroom

New Goodwood Oval Clubroom

DesignKingWilliamAll in our community would be aware of our commitments to the Goodwood Oval Clubroom upgrade, to the redevelopment of King William Road and to Brownhill Creek. Not to mention the next stage of the Unley Oval redevelopment. All big ticket items, with a possibility I suggest of Goodwood Oval maybe going over budget.

How about advancing planning for the replacement of the Millswood Croquet Club. This is an initiative that Jennie and I are promoting as an elected member initiative.

We should see a project for improvements around the Village green precinct come into consideration too.

What about the multitude of environmental initiatives we strive for in Unley. This includes continuing and even increasing projects like the verge greening I have championed in the past. Water sensitive projects and what about the conversion of our street lighting to LED.

It includes also the same for our 2nd generation tree program. A responsible approach to removing trees that may be causing a nuisance to some in our community while increasing the canopy cover long term.

We will also be looking at the what recommendations will come out of the recent Clarence Park LATM.  East Avenue, like we have already identified with Leah Street might require some structural repairs in the very near future. We will also consider beautifying Leah Street given the need for extensive repairs.

And much more I suspect.

Please wish us well as we juggle all this into budget 2019.

 

 

New Initiatives form the basis of the rate increase proposed by the City of Unley for 2018/19.

New Initiatives form the basis of the rate increase proposed by the City of Unley for 2018/19.

As I indicated in my blog post of 22 April, Council is seeking your feedback on this year’s draft annual business plan and budget. A budget of new initiatives at around CPI to achieve.

Council’s budget reflects what I believe to be a more than appropriate approach. One that balances what I believe our community is seeking for us to add to our services with a rate increase that only all but matches CPI.

As seen by the table below our proposed increase is only marginally above CPI. The increase focuses pretty much only on new initiatives. Savings made in the last few years has meant we have kept our operating budget (those ongoing regular activities) at almost the current year’s figures.

The result is the rate increase we are proposing covers only new initiatives.

Initial Proposed Rate Increase 2.5%
ADD for impact of China Waste refusal 0.3%
TOTAL proposed rate increase 2.8%
CPI (annual to March 2017) 2.3%
Proposed New Initiatives 3.0%
(from table below) $ 1,241,500

In my blog post of 24 April, I highlighted the major initiatives, all of which are funded by loans. We have taken advantage of the low interest environment to fund works we had planned on doing later. These projects are shown in that blog post of 24 April.

The new initiatives that are the basis of this year’s rate rise are listed below.

New Initiatives

New Initiatives

 

Here’s are the questions for you.

Are you keen to see these projects undertaken. If not which ones. If you are but you don’t like the cost impact on your personal budget which of our normal activities would you like to see removed or scaled down.

Let us know by one of the many ways I indicated in my 22 April Blog Post.