By Karen Buck
THAT rate rise, those failing assets and the cold weather notwithstanding, Denmark news isn’t all bad.
Figures prepared by the shire council for its recent budget discussions highlighted some strong positives in our community.
For instance, local employment is up nearly 13 percent since 2016, while over the same period unemployment dropped more than one percent to just 3.67 percent.
More people seem to be catching on to what the locals already know – that this is a great place to be – with 36.6 percent more tourists coming our way over the past three years, helping Denmark become the shining star in the otherwise gloomy galaxy of regional visitation.
Even the ringtail possums have come back – and that’s got to be a good thing, right?
At the same time our Gross Regional Product (GRP) is up 13.67 percent.
As a percentage of our rates shire wages of $6-million dollars a year have been decreasing since 2016, and now constitute only about 92 percent of budgeted rates, which is apparently considered a very good ratio.
And those staff are very happy, according to the figures, with 96 percent saying that our shire is a positive place to work.
Council applied successfully for about $2.5 million dollars in grants last financial year, for some vital programs including road repairs, the Ocean Beach fire shed and bushfire risk management.
And while we’re focusing on shire money management, no new loans have been applied for and council will pay off five existing loans by the end of this financial year.
Council also has about $35,000 in this year’s budget to distribute as community financial assistance grants.
Denmark was the second-highest performing council in the Great Southern but led the region in eight areas, including customer service, library and information systems, and ‘sense of belonging’.
And on top of all that community satisfaction has increased in 49 out of 55 areas surveyed.
Of course that was before the rate rise – but still goes to show that it’s not all gloom and doom!