Sound budget brings progress

Supporting local businesses, community safety initiatives and progression of vital infrastructure projects are the focal points of the 2016/2017 City of Karratha budget.

Sound financial management has ensured funds allocated to the financial year ahead make way for new initiatives, provide for the continuation of maintenance programs and services and ensure current projects remain on track for completion.

City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long said the budget would provide for improvements and developments across the City.

“We have put together a budget that addresses the areas of concern highlighted by residents in our most recent community survey while continuing to support the development and maintenance of infrastructure and services throughout our towns,” Cr Long said.

“Key items that Council will focus on in the year ahead include community safety, the construction of the Karratha Arts and Community Precinct, a renewed focus on fostering tourism and economic development opportunities as well as the continued provision of the excellent services we are able to provide for residents,” he said.

Revenue

Council has been adapting to recent economic shifts and has opted for a lower rates rise than originally predicted. Rates will increase by 1.7% for residential, commercial and industrial properties this financial year to match the forecast increase in inflation.

The total rates income Council receives, including that from mining camps, accounts for one-third of the 2016/2017 budget revenue.

City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long said stringent financial management and strong corporate leadership was behind the lower increase.

“All rates received directly influence Council’s ability to fund expenditure requirements over the coming year and this year’s rise reflects the minimum increase required to maintain the excellent level of service our community expects from us,” Cr Long said.

“As an organisation, we are continually looking for ways to operate more efficiently, maximise our savings and improve our processes. In the past year alone we have increased our energy efficiency, worked on the way we procure goods and services, negotiated a new employment agreement with staff and are currently working through service reviews in each of our departments,” he said.

“Through these changes we have been able to create a desirable result for any Council and community with our rates only required to rise based on forecast inflation,’ he said.

A majority of Council fees and charges have remained the same or increased to match new Consumer Price Index for the new financial year including admissions to the Karratha Leisureplex, building applications and waste disposal fees.

As with rates, the total amount of fees and charges that are received account for 30% of Councils total budget revenue.

Council also relies on grant submissions to achieve a number of projects and initiatives each year. These funds make up 14% of budget revenue with the Karratha Arts and Community Precinct underway thanks to grant funding totalling $29.5million.

Expenditure

Results from the annual community survey indicate the local economy, tourism opportunities and community safety initiatives as major concerns within the community and expenditure in these areas will reflect this over the new financial year.

The progression of key infrastructure projects was also highlighted and these will continue in the year ahead.

City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long said a number of new initiatives were in place for the financial year ahead to increase economic development and safety in the community.

“Promoting tourism and economic development opportunities in the City is a high priority for Council this year. We have set aside funding to progress a destination marketing strategy for the City as well as further explore tourism opportunities identified through our Tourism Advisory Group such as island glamping and eco-tourism.”

“Council will continue to address community safety concerns through initiatives identified by the Safer Communities Partnership and has set aside funding for installation of a pelican crossing along Dampier Highway outside of the Karratha Senior High School,” he said.

“A number of key infrastructure projects will be finalised this financial year. An upgraded effluent reuse scheme will not only improve water efficiency and cost savings for Council, it will also provide a sustainable and regular irrigation program for most of Karratha’s open green spaces and ovals. The Tambrey Pavilion will also be completed this year providing a much needed new home and hub for sporting and community groups in the area.”

“Construction of the Karratha Arts and Community Precinct begins this year. The highly anticipated facility will be transformational for Karratha providing a permanent home for large scale events, the Moonrise Cinema, Karratha Library as well as an opportunity to expand the arts and culture services currently available in the City. We are very excited to see this project take shape and its place at the entry of Karratha’s revitalised City Centre,” Cr Long said.

City-wide projects and services

Highlights from this year’s budget will be spread right across the City with major projects and service enhancements planned for Dampier, Wickham, Roebourne and Point Samson.

“New foreshore improvement projects have been identified for Dampier, Karratha, Wickham and Point Samson extending on the successful implementation of initial upgrades in these areas.”

“This includes design work for further enhancements in Dampier tying in the carpark and soccer field, a viewing platform and shade structure as well as dune rehabilitation works at the Maitland Road lookout in Karratha and establishing a viewing platform and lookout point in Point Samson.”

“Wickham will also benefit from streetscape enhancements along Wickham Drive and Mulga Way as well as facility improvements at the Wickham Recreation Precinct, construction of a new BMX track and design work for a permanent boat ramp facility at Wickham Boat Beach.”

“Planning will continue for a brand new community hub facility similar to the one recently opened in Dampier with $3.9 million set aside to progress that project to construction.”

“Funding has also been set aside for new road seals and footpath development in Roebourne as well as upgrades to Roebourne Aquatic Centre and of course, the Roebourne 150 events which will be kicking off next month.”

“Council remains committed to providing high quality community infrastructure and services for the community and is looking forward to another productive year in the City of Karratha,” Cr Long added.  

The 2016/2017 City of Karratha Budget was adopted by Council on Monday 18 July.

The budget in full can viewed at www.karratha.wa.gov.au.