Long-term sustainability is the focus of the 2021-22 City of Hobart budget, which was adopted this evening.
Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds described 2021-22 as a “transition year” for the City, as it moved out of the pandemic response phase and into the long-term recovery.
“This time last year, we were taking quite drastic measures to deal with the immediate impacts of the pandemic,” she said. “We now need to enter into a long-term strategy to rebuild our services and financial sustainability – and that will take some time.
“Significant cost-savings have been achieved across the organisation, which means we can continue to provide the services that our community expects without big increases to rates.
“The result is a budget that provides stability for our community and confidence in the long-term outlook.”
Following a deficit budget in 2020-21, the City has forecast a moderate surplus of $1.49 million for the coming financial year.
Finance and Governance Committee Chair Marti Zucco moved the adoption of the budget at tonight’s Council meeting.
“Considering the situation, this is a very responsible budget by the Council that will deliver a small but much-needed surplus,” Ald Zucco said.
“The Council has also been lucky that the fruits of growth and development have assisted in the bottom line.”
More than half of the $42.9 million capital works program comprises renewal projects. However, $8.4 million in grant funding from other levels of government has helped to deliver new infrastructure such as the new cycle lanes on Argyle and Campbell streets, new public toilets and amenities at Tolmans Hill and Long Beach, and redevelopment of the Swan Street Park.
“We’ll continue to apply for grant funding as a way to get more of our shovel-ready projects under way,” Cr Reynolds said.
Significant development activity in Hobart during the past year produced growth in the city’s rates base by 1.12 per cent, subsequently allowing the City to lock in a modest average rates increase of 2.73 per cent, or approximately $70 a year.
The majority of residential ratepayers will receive an increase of between 2.63 per cent and 2.81 per cent, depending on their individual property value.
Waste management, FOGO and landfill rehabilitation services charges have been frozen for 2021-22. However, the state government-imposed Fire Protection levy will increase by $32.33.
“With this budget, we’ve been able to maintain investment in the health and wellbeing of our community through providing parks, bushland and sporting facilities to the tune of $18 million – or around $330 per Hobart resident,” Cr Reynolds said.
“We’re also spending in excess of $18 million on roads and active travel infrastructure and we’re continuing to invest in the safety of our community with $1.5 million allocated to bushfire management and fire trail maintenance.”
2021-22 budget by the numbers:
- Operating Budget: $141.2m
- Underlying result: $1.49m surplus
- Ave rate increase: 2.73%
- Capital works program: $42.9m
- Roads & footpaths: $18m
- Cycling infrastructure: $2.7m
- Bushland management & infrastructure $4.1m
- Parks/reserves/sporting facilities maintenance & management: $4.6m
- Community and creative programs: $2.4m
- Bushfire management & fire trails: $1.5m