Council rates to rise 6% if budget draft is adopted


p2240-Damien-Ryan-1By ERWIN CHLANDA
The town council is proposing a rate rise of 6% which would increase the minimum annual rate by $68.
The draft budget announced by Mayor Damien Ryan this morning (pictured) is open for public comment until June 19.
He said parks ($1.9m), sports ($1.6m), roads $1.9m) and footpaths ($300,000) are highlights.
It is proposed to raise $20.8m of the $32m budget from rates.
The council wants to commit $1m to solar projects. The scope of these, yet to be defined, would depend on any supplementary government grants and contributions from other sources.
Mayor Ryan said the objective is for solar power to replace some of the electricity bought from Power & Water, “one of the biggest” expenses for the council and expected to rise.
Community organisations would be getting $300,000 in council grants if the budget is adopted.
Increased functions for rangers, as suggested by Chief Minister Adam Giles, are not in the draft but are subject to continuing discussion, says Mayor Ryan.
The council, which is not allowed to have a deficit, would have a $39,000 surplus.
A 20% target for an Indigenous component of the council workforce remains the “desire” of the council – it is now 12% and had previously reached just over 15%.


  1. Another bloody increase.
    At what point do the Council – rather than just hiking up the rates – start to bloody cut costs.
    Roads, Rates & Rubbish – that’s your bailiwick – everything else, stop wasting my money!!!

  2. Nice to be able to work out what you want to spend and then send ratepayers the bill.
    Over the past 3 years the rate increase totals 17%.

  3. Rates have gone up 17% in last three years, probably the same percentage as the decline in population.
    Looks like they are trying to balance the books.

  4. Here we go again, my rates are $4700 a year as it is, on a block in the so called tourist area in the Gap.
    Not bad considering I can only put out one bin out and only have three toilets.
    Like the another observer said, just do your job and serve the public.

  5. After reading the draft budget – the trajectory Alice Springs ratepayers are on is rather concerning.
    Operational costs in technical, PR and environmental wages seems to be considerably higher than the level of expertise and output from the ASTC.
    What does the $102,000 Environmental Officer do all day? Does the Christmas tree really look like a $37,000 per year tree (the tree NOT the carnival which is closer to 60k).
    What output does the 998K executives team achieve? Or the $300K CEO office? The concerning thing is – the rangers – the guys that actually get things done on the ground – has a smaller budget then the “think tank executives”.
    ASTC – You need to consider ways to broaden the rate base, increase investment / cash flow positive works, cut considerable operational costs from desk jobs in the office (perhaps this can be achieved if you gain some productivity and savings from the million dollar a year IT department) and look at long term cost minimization strategies and effective cost recovery to help stop the escalating black hole of litter and graffiti.
    Somehow I suspect the couple hundred bucks to hire out the Traeger Stadium would not have covered all the litter left by the recent Easter Football Carnival.
    And please ASTC – employ a highly productive workforce based upon merit of the individual not a racially motivated PC social agenda based on skin colour.
    The incompetence of the over sized technical department became apparent over the last few months whilst driving home from work – a patch of road on Smith Street was temporarily patched three times.
    On the 4th time it was bitumised. A week later it was then cut out and removed so a contract plumber could fix the underlying problem. It has now been re-bitumised again. That, folks, is where your money is going!
    There are many good locals on the elected council – unfortunately the executive side [needs to lift its game].

  6. Yay, wonderful to hear that the council has invested in solar energy, good to see them coming to the party. It’s a shame that the Federal Government cut the funding to the Solar Cities programs., From my take it’s not a bad budget, not a great one. I think it’s reflective of the current economic downturn the town is going through.
    Hopefully once the properties being developed in town are built, that will be additional rate payers which means less rate increases for us.

  7. You have to take your hat off to the council putting rates up. You already have 20 empty shops in the mall and they want to make it harder for them. And as for going solar power it will make power more expensive for the rest.
    What are they doing with all the money in the banks? It is no wonder people are leaving town. The tourist industry will have another burden as house prices have dropped.
    And as for spending $500,000 on a bike track to Kilgariff: Would it be better spent doing some of the footpaths in the town? Some of the older parts of town don’t have footpaths.

  8. Here we go again, our Mayor is happy to rob the ratepayers for another 6% increase.
    Enough of the council’s greed. Show some balls and start looking for ways to slash costs ie. cut out all the directors’ positions and appoint a general manager for all section units to report to, who in turn reports to the CEO.
    Savings: $1m minimum. Put 50% of work out to contract, sell off half the machinery which don’t turn wheels often enough.
    The laid off workers could be re-employed by the contractors who are screaming for work in this town. Net savings: $2m plus.
    Finally take a leaf out of City of Darwin’s budget and dive into the $35m piggy bank reserves to help pay for the grandiose schemes proposed.
    Please note Damien, Rex and councillors, it is NOT your money but the long suffering ratepayers’ who are bloody well sick and tired of your waste and empire building schemes.
    PS: Get rid of a few rangers and stop their Nazi type modus operandum.

  9. If the rates were not raised at all, $19.6m would be available.
    It looks like a $1.2m cut would be required to balance the budget. $1m for an ill defined solar project looks like a good place to start.

  10. The council will only stop ripping off its rate payers when we make this an issue at election time.
    Vote for candidates who commit to rate increases at no more than inflation.

  11. A $996,000 IT budget for a staff of 160? I would love to have that.
    The Spiceworks 2014 State of IT report for 2014 showed that on average SME’s run at an IT spend of around US$1,500 per user per year.
    From experience that is fairly accurate. If the council can be getting it so wrong on one line you have to wonder what else they are wasting money on.

  12. If the Alice Springs Town Council (ASTC) executives worked for private business they wouldn’t last too long.
    Perhaps they should be on performance based salaries. If rates have to go up by x percent their salaries should go down by the same amount.
    There must be enough money for the council to invest some to build up the kitty. In the 70s and early 80s there was a popular term for underproductive overpaid government employees: Fat Cats.
    So the only way we can change things is when voting time comes around.
    Next time, remember the inefficiencies and dictatorial attitude of our council and get off your bum and VOTE.

  13. Broadening the rates base would be a good thing.
    Tax the churches! They are a business.
    I understand that introducing that legislation is beyond the scope of local government but it’s a discussion that should be had Federally and considered.
    Only a proportion of properties in Alice Springs have rates levied on them. All properties should be rateable. That would provide council with more funds to provide more and better community services. Great to see them investing in solar energy opportunities too. Smart thinking!

  14. There are some great people working for the ASTC, then there’s the bloated executive that seem to struggle managing their budgets and cover it up by continually pushing up rates far in excess of CPI … UNREAL!

  15. I would have to agree with Daveo. This council is very dysfunctional. It only picks up rubbish and looks after parks.
    The council chambers is an over statement. I’m concerned that a lot of house prices have dropped but the council valuations have not dropped. It is time for this council to lift their game and work smarter. With low interest rates and cheaper fuel I wonder why rates rise?

  16. Simple way to save $$$ – outsource to lowest tender all the maintenance! Lawn mowing and rubbish pick up to the prison! Stop going on about “solar power” and similar bs. Get PaW to pay for this.

  17. Good call Phil. Every property should be rated. Leave it up to the Feds or State Governments to provide benefits to not for profit / PBI type institutions. From my limited understanding, some of the largest property owners in Alice Springs do not pay rates.


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