Frequently Asked Questions
Why are you transferring 1% of rates from mining to residential?
The transfer of 1% of rates per year from the mining category to the residential category is a long-term plan designed to safeguard the city in the event that mining should suddenly close or rapidly decline in Broken Hill, or the commodities market crashes.
If Council was to continue its historic heavy reliance on mining rates and the mining industry took a sudden downturn, Council could potentially be faced with the choice of dropping a large rate rise onto residents in one hit, or not passing on the rates rise and running out of cash within a number of years.
Council does not believe either of these scenarios is acceptable, and adopted the rate-shifting plan in the 2015/2016 financial. The plan has four more years to run, with a transfer of 1% per year.
The rate transfer this financial year will, on average, result in a rates rise of just $16.
Council cannot control the life of mining in the city nor the stability of the commodities market, but it can prepare the city to ensure it is able to survive in the event of a sudden downturn in the mining industry.
Why did you take out a $10 million loan? What have you done with the money?
A 2017 review of Council’s audited financial statements from the last 15 years showed an accumulated operating deficit of around $65 million that has caused an estimated underspend on infrastructure renewal of around $54 million.
So what does that mean?
Put simply - Council historically hasn’t been repairing and renewing its road, footpaths and buildings and other assets faster than they deteriorate.
To try and correct this problem, Council has taken out a $10 million loan to fast track infrastructure renewal over the next 10 years. At the same time, Council reviewed its investment strategy and entered into long-term investments with cash that is not required for more than 10 years to maximise investment return.
These investments will provide a return well above our interest repayments, ensuring the loan is cost neutral across its 20-year life span. Council can draw down on this money as it matures to finance ongoing infrastructure renewal, some of which we’ll talk about in the next section.
What are the major things Council is spending money on this year?
Council will spend around $9.2 million on capital projects this year, with $6.77 million of that amount to come from Council’s budget. The remainder will be funded by grants, restricted cash assets, and other external sources.
$5.04m will be spent on roads, including sealing a section of Brown Street to connect the roads that lead to Silverton and The Living Desert. This will be of great benefit to tourists visiting the city. A major section of Oxide Street between Crystal and Wolfram Streets will also be reconstructed.
Other major projects include:
- Revitalisation of Patton Park
- Making footpaths in the CBD disability-friendly
- Installation of CCTV and smart lighting for Sturt and Patton Parks
- New dog pound
- Design and construction plans for the city’s new library
Find more information about the review of operating hours here.