The natural coastal environment and open spaces, the village feel of its activity centres and the liveability of its suburbs and neighbourhoods are some of the attributes Bayside residents value most about their community. Like all municipalities however, Bayside has its own unique challenges.
Funding for municipal services and infrastructure relies largely upon the number of ratepayers and this means rateable properties. When the number of properties paying rates towards the given costs of municipal services and infrastructure is higher, the rate revenue contributed by each individual property is less. In addition to the number of properties which pay rates, the type of properties vary, as can their contribution to overall rates revenue.
Bayside has a relatively high reliance on rates revenue with rates contributing 71% of our total revenue and other sources 29%. This is largely due to our suburban and residential nature and high socio-economic demographic profile. Most other Victorian municipalities receive a greater proportion of their revenue from alternative sources, such as federal and state government grants which are often allocated based on perceived disadvantage, and higher fees and charges. As a result, the average Victorian council is less dependent on rate revenue, with 44% of revenue generated from these non-rate sources. Other Victorian inner metropolitan Councils generate on average 34% of their revenue from non-rate sources, including significant parking fee revenue.
In Bayside, 93% of our rates come from residential properties, and we have fewer commercial and industrial properties than many of our neighbours. Our low density and projected lower levels of growth further constrain our revenue base, but are key attributes valued by our community for enhancing Bayside’s liveability.
Within this revenue constrained context, data released by the State Government’s Know your Council website highlights Bayside’s strong financial performance in comparison to other councils in the State and to similar councils in the inner metropolitan area. In particular, it highlights our strong results in relation to operating costs per rateable property, our underlying financial results, debt and capital expenditure.
In January 2018 we made the final instalment on long-standing historic debt, making it one of a small number of Australian governments, Federal State or local, which are debt free. Mayor Cr Laurence Evans said that our debt-free status comes after years’ concentrated focus on achieving efficiencies across the organisation.
“Strong and effective financial management has been a consistent feature of Council’s work through a targeted program of cost savings and efficiencies,” Cr Evans said. “I am delighted to say that Bayside City Council is well placed to meet the current and future needs of our community through its careful focus on delivering value and managing costs."
“This has been achieved while delivering services at higher quality in most areas and funding a record $164 million investment in community infrastructure that will be achieved without the need to take on any new debt.”
Our 2016/17 capital spend represents a 52% increase in the historical spend for the past 8 years and will increase substantially over the next 3 years.
Higher quality service delivery at below average cost
The State Government data on the Know Your Council website shows that in 2016/2017 Bayside delivered 63% of its services at performance levels exceeding most Councils, and at expenditure levels that are 21% lower per head of population than similar councils. While Bayside is more rate dependent than many councils, our focus on strong and effective financial management has resulted in higher quality services at costs lower than its municipal neighbours.
It is notable that our financial performance results are very favourable in comparison to councils overall and to councils that are similar to Bayside. This is particularly so in relation to operating costs per assessment, underlying results, debt and capital expenditure.
Expense per head of municipal population
We have achieved these results at an expenditure level 21% lower per head of population than similar councils.
Expenditure per rateable property 13% lower than similar councils
Our overall expenditure per rateable property was 13% lower than similar councils.
Bayside’s expenditure on infrastructure, including renewing existing assets and creating new community infrastructure, has grown considerably in recent years. This growth is addressing past underspending and is progressively bringing our facilities to a new and exciting level of quality. We are committed to creating facilities and assets which provide great value and of which the community can be proud.
The data highlights our other areas of strength as:
- animal management
- food safety
The data highlighted our most significant area of weakness as:
- statutory planning.
87% of cats and dogs returned to owners
Our animal management service continued to return an exceptionally high number of pets to their owners at a cost that was 25% lower than similar councils.
100% food premises inspected, 100% food premises non-compliance notifications followed up
Our food safety service continued to achieve outstanding results for community safety with 100% of food safety assessments undertaken on registered food premises and 100% of non-compliance notifications followed-up. These results were achieved at a cost that was 12% lower than similar councils.
99% Council resolutions made in public open meetings, 99% Councillor attendance at meetings
Bayside’s commitment to open and transparent decision-making has resulted in less than 1% of Council decisions made in closed meetings which is significantly lower than similar councils.
The Councillor attendance rating of 99.08% demonstrates the high level of commitment of elected members in representing our community.
These results were achieved at a cost that was 18% lower than similar councils.
22% residents are active library users
Comparative to similar councils, high numbers of Bayside community members were active members of the library service. The library service costs continued to be lower than similar councils
Maternal and child health
81% of children enrolled in maternal and child health service
Participation rates in our Maternal and Child Health services have remained consistently high, including 81.31% of children being enrolled in the service which was approximately 4% above other councils.
97% sealed roads not requiring renewal
97.3% of our sealed local roads were maintained to condition standards and our community’s satisfaction rating was 3% higher than similar councils.
51% of garbage, recyclables and green organics diverted from landfill
We diverted 51.01% of its waste from landfill, which is 5% more than similar councils.
Statutory planning improvement program
The time taken to decide the average planning application increased to 118 days and this increase also reduced the percentage of planning applications decided within the required timeframe to 43%. We have invested in an improvement program to address these results which has increased the cost of statutory planning services to $2,641 per application. As a result of this investment, performance is expected to significantly improve in 2017/18, with faster timeframes to determine new applications. Investment in additional staff resources and the expansion of digital approaches are some of the strategies to improve performance across the year, as a backlog of planning applications is reduced.