Probe into 'double dip'

Article image - Probe into 'double dip'

The Local Government Association of South Australia (LGASA) is surveying all South Australian Councils to try to identify the ‘double dip’ impact of increases in the Emergency Services Levy on Council properties.

LGASA President Mayor David O’Loughlin said data from Councils suggested the total impact on the sector could be in the millions, with reported increases ranging from 23 percent to 269 percent.

“I am most concerned about the impact on community organisations such as sporting clubs which pay the levy as part of their lease or use agreement with Councils.

“Any remainder will challenge new Councils to implement service cuts, maintenance deferrals or rates increases to meet increased State bills.

“It is particularly frustrating when Councils still have an emergency services role but are not receiving any funding from the ESL.

“We’ve just signed an agreement with the CFS about co-operation and resource sharing.”

Mayor O’Loughlin said LGASA would gather more information from Councils before having discussions with the Treasurer.

Impacts on Councils will be further compounded with the State Government’s announcement that it will cease rates concessions for eligible pensioners and concession cardholders from the end of June 2015.

"This will have an impact in excess of $34 million on some of the most vulnerable members of our communities.

“I have indicated that Councils will be facing horror budgets in 2015 and this just adds to the challenge for new Councils."