Council Meeting News – July 2022

Review of Council Services Update

Glenorchy City Council is undertaking a targeted service review with the aim of improving its financial sustainability and focusing on a “back to basics” delivery of strong priority Council services for the Glenorchy community.  

Council, mindful of the cost-of-living pressures being faced by its ratepayers, recently limited its annual rate revenue increase to 3.5%, consistent with its Long-Term Financial Management Plan. The 2022/23 budget forecasts a $4.5m deficit at year’s end, with a return to surplus in the 2026/27 financial year.

The service review has been designed to improve the financial position of the Council while minimising both the impact on Council’s direct customers and disruption to Council operations. This has been a difficult but important decision by Council to reverse a trend of being in deficit in ten of the last twelve financial years.

Council has taken measures to address the structural deficit and get back into the black more quickly. By lifting our financial performance, we make sure we are in a stronger place to continue to deliver services to the Glenorchy community in a sustainable manner.

General Manager, Tony McMullen updated Council on the progress of the service review and the second phase of the review which is now underway. The second phase includes a review of Council’s Child Care and Community Development functions and exploring ways to maximise revenue from the Moonah Arts Centre.

Capital Works Update

Glenorchy City Council is set to deliver a suite of new community sport and recreation facilities, with construction on several major projects to commence early in the new financial year.

As part of a comprehensive update on its capital works program, Council heard that the $1.18m clubroom and amenities building at the Eady Street sports ground, and the $3m extension to the Jackson Street landfill are now complete.

Construction work on the Giblins Reserve Playspace, Montrose Bay Foreshore Skate Park and major soccer facility upgrades at KGV and North Chigwell ovals is likely to start before the end of 2022.

Council’s 2021/22 capital works budget contained 326 separate expenditure lines (a mix of Council and grant funded projects and capital purchases) totalling $19,654,000 million. Council’s works program for 2021/22 has been impacted heavily by the availability of materials and contractors caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the final outcome of the Capital Renewal Program (excluding the major grant funded projects) was 93% expended/completed, which is a marked improvement compared to the total capital expenditure to budget of 61.2% in the 2020/21 financial year.

Council also made a point of ensuring the proposed Zinc Link project is not lost to the community but considered in future years capital program considerations.

Caretaker Period

Council considered the introduction of a Caretaker Policy, following a request from Local Government Minister the Hon Nic Street MP for councils to consider following the lead of Kingborough Council in introducing such a policy.

Good governance principles include a convention where, in the period leading up to an election, it is inappropriate for a Council to undertake major decisions that:

  • may bind a future incoming Council in a manner it does not wish to be committed
  • involve the use of Council resources in ways which may be seen as advantaging the current sitting Aldermen over campaigners seeking to run for office; and/or
  • involve General Manager appointments or contract renewals for extended periods after the upcoming election.

This period of time is called the ‘caretaker period’.

Under the proposed Policy, the caretaker period runs from the Notice of Election under s.268 of the Local Government Act 1993 (expected on 3 September 2022) until the Certificate of Election is issued under s.304 of the same Act.

The forthcoming Local Government elections will be held during September and October 2022 (as advised by the Tasmanian Electoral Commission). Given this, the upcoming caretaker period will run from early September until at least 26 October 2022.

Public Spaces and Infrastructure By-Law 2022

A number of Council By-laws have expired in relation to the management of roads, parks and hydraulic infrastructure. Since their expiry, Council officers have requested that By-laws be reinstated in relation to roads, parks and watercourses to allow Council to effectively regulate these areas and address current and ongoing management issues.

On 27 July 2020 Council expressed its intention to make the By-law for the purpose of facilitating the use of public places and other infrastructure in the City of Glenorchy, for commercial and cultural activities. Council requested that the By-law be known as the Public Places and Infrastructure By-law. The Regulatory Impact Statement that accompanies the By-law was certified by the Director of Local Government on
25 May 2022.

Council resolved to make the By-law, noting the amendments made as a result of the consultation period.

The By-law refers to items such as roadside vending, busking and public speaking, camping, hunting equipment and aircraft usage on Council controlled land.

Council will providing further detail about this By-law and the improvements it brings for the community in the future.

Notice of Motion – Housing and Homelessness

Council considered officer’s advice on a motion raised by Ald Kelly Sims at the June Council meeting in regard to Housing and Homelessness within the city.

Aldermen heard about the current actions being undertaken by council officers, including investigating and releasing available land for development, discussions and actions in collaboration with state and federal government to speed up supply of housing and homelessness solutions. The report also included an analysis of the feasibility of using current council owned buildings for emergency shelter.

Council continues to be a member of cross council / community group, the Greater Hobart Housing and Homelessness Alliance, convened by the Lord Mayor of Hobart, which meets quarterly and involves stakeholders from across the sector to work together with State and Federal government. Council is a partner in the alliance with other members, including other Greater Hobart Councils, Shelter Tasmania, Salvation Army, TasCoss, Hobart City Mission, Catholic Care, Colony 47, UTAS Department of Health, Vinnies, Anglicare, Communities Tas and the Property Council.

A further report will come to Council in September updating Council’s progress with this issue.

You can view the full update in the meeting agenda here.