By ERWIN CHLANDA
Town Council rates are proposed to rise by 3.5%, Mayor Damien Ryan (above) announced this morning.
That would mean the minimum rates for the 2019/20 financial year would be $1332.77 for the majority of the rated land, generating $12.7m in income.
Rural land minimum rates will be $1345.50 and commercial, $1405.74.
The draft municipal plan, due to be adopted on June 24, is now open for public comment.
The draft budget does not include any allocation for the proposed move of the civc centre to the Anzac Precinct, to make room for the proposed national Aboriginal art gallery, as part of a and swap deal between the NT Government and council.
There is no allocation for the relocation in the NT Budget either, although it includes a $48m allocation for the gallery.
Coupled with the fact that the government still has no Business Case for the gallery, its future seems as uncertain as ever, although Arts Minister Lauren Moss says: “The Government has an active application over the Alice Springs Town Council site for an Authority Certificate which is duly being considered by the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority.”
Asked whether the absence of a budget allocation means that nothing will be happening with the gallery in 2019/20, Mayor Ryan said: “It is not something we would budget for. There was an offer from the government to talk with us and we have agreed in principle to have that talk. We couldn’t budget for something we don’t know what the costs are.”
Is it expected that it will cost the council nothing to move its civic centre?
Mayor Ryan: “We won’t know that until those discussions have been had.”
Ms Moss said last week that a Business Case “is close to completion and expected to be presented to Government in coming weeks.”
The government called a tender for a Business Case last year after the Alice Springs News pointed out that none existed.
Government front bencher Dale Wakefield said at the time it would be completed by late November last year. The gallery’s interim director Mark Crees announced it for March this year.
The total proposed Town Council budget is $35.5m, roughly half of which ($17.9m) is employee costs. Materials and contracts will cost $8.3m and other operating expenses, $5m.
Council rangers will cost $1.2m and general litter control $1.25m.
Parks and reserves costs are listed as $1.4m and the library, $1.9m.
The proposed costs for the town pool are $3.3m. Mayor Ryan said recommendations from consultants about increasing patronage are being implemented.
The operation of the landfill is proposed at $3.1m.
Included in the budget plan is $705,000 towards ongoing tree planting and maintenance but only $120,000 towards Youth Action Group (just $20,000 more than for public toilet refurbishment), and $50,000 towards after hours basketball, an initiative to keep young people out of trouble at night.
Kerbside recycling is on hold. A trial for disposing organics is under way with 200 users.
Annual waste management charges are $67.70 per dwelling without collection and $364.95 with collection.
Other fees have been held to 1% increase or less.