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In this secondary round of consultation, it is important to inform you about the changes made to the amended Draft Annual Business Plan and Budget 2023/24. These changes include allocating an additional $200,000 for lighting design at Prospect Oval, a $8.3m land purchase for land adjacent Prospect Oval at 142-148 Main North Road, and a change to the vacant land differential rate.
As a result of these changes, the average rate increase is now 6.75%, a 1% increase when compared to the previous Draft Annual Business Plan and Budget 2023/24 we consulted on in May 2023.
During this 21-day period of engagement, you will have the opportunity to learn about these changes and provide feedback.
A future consultation strategy will be developed to gather community input regarding future options for the adjacent Prospect Oval site.
The average rate increase is now 6.75%, which for the average residential ratepayer represents an increase of $126 over 2022/23, from $2065 to $2191. This compares favourably to the March quarter CPI rate of 7.9%.
This means as a ratepayer, you will be paying an average of an additional $24 per year, or $6 per quarter, above what was envisaged in the original 2023/24 draft budget.
We understand the importance of keeping the financial burden manageable for our residents while ensuring necessary investments for the community's benefit. Our aim is to strike a balance that allows for progress and improvement while keeping costs reasonable.
When compared to neighbouring councils, our rate increase remains low. Here are the recent rate increases and the corresponding amount reported in the Advertiser (published 15 June 2023):
We understand and appreciate the community's desire to maintain infrastructure and open spaces without a rate increase. Council has been actively working towards balancing these priorities. However, it is important to consider the future strategic opportunities, and long-term benefits to our community, which the acquisition of the adjoining Prospect Oval land brings since the initial consultation.
The Council remains committed to prudent financial management and ensuring that rate increases are kept to a minimum while delivering essential services and addressing community needs, both now and in the future.
The purchase of the land will be financed through loans from the Local Government Finance Authority. Repayments will be funded through a combination of commercial lease and rate revenue.
The existing infrastructure on the site allows Council to generate commercial lease income, which will be used to fund repayments, along with a 1% additional increase in rate revenue, whilst we plan for the future of the site.
Council has undertaken a thorough due diligence process, including an independent valuation and feasibility study, analysis from Council’s Audit and Risk Committee, key legal advice, and an independent Prudential Review to inform Council’s decision-making process.
The purchase price of $8.3m was 2.5% above the valuation. Of importance to note is that this size of a property does not come up for sale often and we were in a highly competitive market.
Council considered that the opportunities of this property given its size and location to Prospect Oval as Council’s flagship oval including the future benefits to increase City of Prospect assets, was a valuable exercise.
The purchase of this land is being managed as a standalone project, funded by a combination of a small additional rates increase, together with rental income from the tenancy. No funding has been diverted from other projects or initiatives to fund this purchase, and it has not required any change to Council’s resourcing of core infrastructure improvements, services, or other projects planned for 2023/24.
Council has made some other minor changes to its draft 2023/24 budget that sit outside of this purchase, but those changes were as a direct result of Council’s consultation with the community on its budget and are not related to this purchase.
Council recognises the community's desire for Council to ‘get back to basics’. While the new projects present exciting opportunities, Council remains committed to delivering essential services and maintaining existing infrastructure. The increased budget allocation for strategic opportunities does not mean a compromise on basic service provision, and Council will continue to allocate appropriate resources to ensure that essential services are given due attention.
Our goal is to strike a balance between the community's expectations for basic services and the pursuit of strategic initiatives that contribute to the long-term wellbeing of the entire community.
Council sees great potential in this land to benefit all ratepayers. There are a range of opportunities to expand and improve the public spaces adjoining this site and contribute to the economic development of Main North Road.
Importantly, we want to know what you see too. Council aims to consult widely and engage with our community to shape the future of this purchased land. We understand the importance of quality public space in Prospect.
Together, we hope to both enhance the Prospect Oval precinct and address community feedback around creating opportunities to off-set the cost of future improvements.
However, in the meantime Council will commercially lease the existing space to generate income and offset cost to the community, whilst future plans are consulted and settled.
By purchasing this land, Council is seizing a once in a generation opportunity to expand the Prospect Oval precinct and bring more benefits to you.
Here’s how it will positively impact our community:
While we share our community’s enthusiasm for hosting Gather Round earlier, there are several factors to consider, such as the design and implementation process, stakeholder consultations, and securing additional funding. We will be exploring grant funding opportunities to support this asset.
The proposed $200k budget allocation will be spent designing a lighting solution that will bring Prospect Oval’s lighting to a broadcast standard suitable for potential future Gather Round games (1200 lux), and potential cricket broadcasting (1500 lux).
Council will be collaborating with key stakeholders, including residents, North Adelaide Football Club, the South Australian Cricket Association, and other State Government agencies to ensure appropriate lighting and facility solutions can become a reality and propel Prospect Oval as a potential destination for future Gather Round events and cricket broadcasting.
The proposed increase to the differential rate for Vacant Land is a measure aimed at encouraging property owners to make productive use of their vacant land, and to actively discourage land banking in City of Prospect. By implementing this increase, Council aims to incentivise development. This increase only affects properties that are left undeveloped or unused and will have no effect on land parcels that are already developed.