Council will build on last year’s ‘infrastructure budget’ with a continued focus on stimulating the local economy, upgrading local infrastructure and greening the Inner West.
Mayor Darcy Byrne said this year’s budget reflects the key priorities of Inner West.
“This is another responsible budget. One that is literally all about roads, rates and rubbish. It’s a budget that reflects the times and gets the basics right,” said Mayor Byrne.
“Last year was all about accelerating and fast-tracking projects such as installing new shade sails at Council’s aquatic centres, traffic calming works, new bike paths, increased tree planting, solar installations and water sensitive design works.
“We did this in two ways – by pooling our developer contributions reserves and, for the first time, setting aside and ring-fencing funds purely for renewing Council assets at the appropriate time in their life-cycle.
“I’m pleased to say that we are continuing that focus, as well as delivering projects such as new roads, footpath and stormwater works.
“I am especially proud of the minimum $2 million investment in tree plantings that will occur each year for the next term of Council. This follows on from our record breaking $5 million investment in new tree plantings in 2020/21. This is far by the biggest investment in green infrastructure in the history of the Inner West,” Mayor Byrne said.
Inner West will also be harmonising rates as required by the State Government. These changes will be phased in over an eight-year period. While Council is not increasing its overall rates income from rates, harmonisation has meant that some individual ratepayers’ rates may change over time.
“We opposed the State Government’s harmonisation process and won the ability for a phased approach,” Mayor Byrne said.
Council will offset some of the effects of rates harmonisation by reducing the Domestic Waste Charge (DWC) to most residents.
Key highlights from the budget include:
• A minimum $2 million investment in tree planting each year for the next term of Council. This follows on from our record breaking $5 million investment in new tree plantings in 2020/21. This is far by the biggest investment in green infrastructure in the history of the Inner West
• Reducing Council’s infrastructure backlog by segregating funds to ensure footpaths, roads, stormwater and other key assets are renewed at the appropriate time in their life-cycle
• Town centre upgrades including Dulwich Hill Station and Marrickville Road (east) public domain masterplan implementation and Darling Street, Balmain streetscape renewal and upgrade ($7.5 million)
• Upgrading Leichhardt Park Aquatic Centre and Annette Kellerman Aquatic Centre ($4.7 million)
• Delivering Tempe Reserve upgrade
• Town hall and community centre upgrades ($6.8 million) including Marrickville, St Peters and Balmain town halls and Tom Foster Community Centre for relocation of Newtown Neighbourhood Centre
• Commencing construction of the GreenWay central links ($6.9 million) and delivering the Urban Amenity Improvement Program Parramatta Road and surrounds ($7.5 million)
• Expanding solar and food organics recycling throughout the community