The Mt Barker Council’s move to increase its rates below CPI is a positive announcement in what seems to be a sea of bad news.
The move to provide financial relief to residents because of the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic will surely be welcomed by the locals doing it tough in these uncertain times.
Mt Barker’s rates are generally higher than many other metropolitan council areas, mostly due to large scale infrastructure which must be built to service its rapidly growing community.
These projects – such as the regional sports hub and a range of road, community, stormwater and wastewater infrastructure upgrades – are vital to service what is tipped to become SA’s second largest city.
But if the council can pass on a rate increase below CPI and still deliver a $1.2m surplus – while retaining services and continuing those projects – then it is only sensible to provide that relief, at least in the short term.
Furthermore, the removal of a dedicated annual 1% rate increase above CPI for financial stability suggests the council is confident about its future and believes it can still deliver these projects without further dipping into the ratepayers’ pockets.
There is often a disconnect between ordinary people and different levels of government, but it appears the third tier of government is aware of the community’s hardships and is responding with appropriate care and compassion.
In times of crisis we see what communities are made of.
For the small, tight-knit and sociable area of Wistow, not being able to hold its regular get-togethers has been detrimental to community spirit.
But, rather than let it die, its community association decided to fire up an oven and deliver free pizzas across the region.
While it might not sound like much –and while it certainly isn’t the only show of goodwill in these recent times – it is heartening to see that people’s response to adversity is to care for one another.
How nice is it to live in an area where neighbors really are neighbors and are proud of their community?