Council rates usually elicit a grumble from homeowners who open their notice only to find the annual fee has crept up again.
For those already feeling the financial pinch, the annual increase is another impost that adds further stress.
The Mt Barker Council’s decision to shave 0.33% off its rate rise for 2018/19 will ease the burden slightly for local ratepayers.
Councils must be mindful of their community’s ability to pay when setting rate increases and annual budgets.
The Mt Barker Council concedes it can cut projects to meet the $91,000 in rates lost through the change from its anticipated 3.2% rise to 2.9% without impacting on services.
But its message is that rate increases will be necessary to ensure sustainability into the future.
It has a multi-million project list for the next decade – a $66m sewer scheme, a $25m regional aquatic centre and a $28-30m regional sports hub just to name a few.
Without considerable State and Federal Government funding support, or partnerships with the private sector, the cost burden for providing the infrastructure this rapidly growing region needs will continue to fall to ratepayers.
Lobbying the State Government to make improvements on one of the region’s most utilised roads is a commendable decision by the Alexandrina Council.
The Mt Barker to Strathalbyn stretch of the B37 route – which includes Wellington Road from Mt Barker to Wistow and Long Valley Road from Wistow to Strathalbyn – certainly requires improvements.
From Mt Barker to Wistow, the road’s surface and width and its intersections with other roads are the most glaring issues, while from Wistow to Strathalbyn, more overtaking lanes and the widening of sections of the road are needed.
These issues combined can create quite a dangerous driving environment.
Slow vehicles are unable to pull over, potentially leading to risky behaviors from drivers wishing to pass, cars turn onto a 100km/h road from almost blind corners, and so on.
For a road that records over 8000 traffic movements a day and links two rapidly growing towns, its condition is inadequate.
All power to Strathalbyn Ward Councillor Ben Brazzalotto for raising his concerns and to the elected members for prioritising an issue that effects more people than those solely living in their council area.