City resets budget parameters

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Joondalup Council will reset the parameters for this year’s budget that will deliver no increase in rate revenue for 2020/21.

The City’s 2020/21 budget will be modified to assist the community in dealing with the impacts of COVID-19.

It is important to note that while the parameters have now been established, the process is ongoing and the Council won’t formally adopt the budget until later this year.

Given the fluidity of the COVID-19 issue, the City will remain flexible in its response to budget challenges.

The parameters agreed by Council incorporate:

  • Zero increase in rate revenue, fees and charges
  • Projects within the City’s Five-Year Capital Works Program being brought forward to help stimulate the local economy during the recovery phase
  • No interest being applied to instalments or payment plans
  • A significant reduction in late payment interest (to be waived once accounts are being paid under a payment plan)
  • Targeted measures to assist residents and businesses that have been significantly affected by COVID-19 or the restrictions imposed to contain the virus.

Joondalup Mayor Albert Jacob said the City had an obligation to do what it could to lessen the financial burden that COVID-19 had brought to the City’s 161,000 residents and 13,000 businesses.

“These are unprecedented times and it is hoped this decision of our Council will give peace of mind to our ratepayers and residents that we are in their corner, particularly those hardest hit by COVID-19 in terms of job losses and illness,” he said.

The City is currently working as quickly as possible to measure the full financial impact of COVID-19.

This data will then be used to recast the operating budget for 2020-21, providing options for Council to consider as the budget preparation process continues.

Mayor Jacob said the City’s revenue stream would undoubtedly be impacted.

“To facilitate a stronger opening funds position for 2020/21 in the event that revenue and cashflow are significantly impacted and to enable more robust budgeting for 2020-21, it is appropriate to minimise or eliminate discretionary transfers to specific reserves in 2019-20 to retain these funds in surplus and offset possible shortfalls,” he said.

The Council also endorsed the City’s current position that no penalty interest be accrued during March and April 2020 against outstanding rates and services charge balances. This period was extended to the end of 2020 financial year.

Further recovery type measures will be communicated as they are finalised, but the economic impact that COVID-19 will have on the residents and businesses of the City of Joondalup will be the primary area of focus.

“The City is looking at many ways to help combat the many challenges COVID-19 has created, and will continue to create, on our community in the weeks and months to come, Mayor Jacob said.

The City will continue to be guided by the Federal Government and Department of Health WA (DoH) in relation to appropriate COVID-19 responses.