Draft budget earmarked lowest rate rise in Council’s history
April 26, 2017
Councillors have encouraged the community to have its say on their first budget, which has been released in draft form earmarking the lowest rate rise in the municipality’s history.
The draft budget proposes an average rate rise across all rating categories of 0.63 per cent, equating to an average increase of 21 cents per week per property, noting that some will pay more and some will pay less.
The farming sector is set for a rate cut, with the farm differential proposed to be reduced from 79 per cent to 77 per cent of what the average ratepayer pays, resulting in a cash saving for most farmers.
Mayor Chris Potter said Council welcomed comments on the draft budget, which is available for download from Council’s website and will be available in hard copy from 1 May at Council’s offices and public libraries in Colac and Apollo Bay.
“We think we will be one of the only, if not the only, shire in Victoria that has set rates below the State Government’s rate cap of two per cent,” he said.
“This is a result of a lot of hard work by Councillors and the organisation to identify ongoing savings that allow us to deliver a lean budget without impacting on services.
“We particularly wanted to reduce the farm rate in light of the difficult year the dairy industry has had, and we are pleased to say that most farmers will see a reduction in their rates bill this year.
“This draft budget ensures Council remains in a sustainable, low-risk financial position, has no new debt and a significant capital works program.”
The scheduled 2017/18 capital works spend is for $21.64 million, and includes $2.15 million in grant money for upgrades to drainage and other infrastructure in Wye River and Separation Creek as part of bushfire recovery work. Other capital works projects include:
• $1.95 million for the Colac CBD revitalisation project
• $5.1 million for road reconstruction, re-sheeting, re-sealing and safety upgrades
• $1.06 million landslip restoration work including work at Lardner’s Track
• $700,000 for the Queen Street footpath improvement between Pound Road and Hearn Street
• $1.08 million in building renewal upgrades including $466,000 for the Winifred Nance Kindergarten building upgrade.
• $181,057 for the redevelopment of netball facilities at the Irrewarra Beeac Recreation Reserve
• $500,000 to implement the Lake Colac masterplan in line with council’s commitment and the community priorities identified at the recent local council elections.
People receiving weekly waste collections will pay an additional 11 cents per week, or $298 per year; while people receiving fortnightly collections will pay an additional 8 cents per week, or $198 per year.
Wilkinson said in the past year Council had also co-ordinated major disaster recovery and supported our coastal communities recovering from the devastating effects of bushfire, this was followed by flood recovery after heavy rain severely impacted the shire in September. These works were funded through the National Disaster Cr Relief and Recovery Arrangements.
Cr Potter encouraged people to attend community drop-in sessions to discuss the draft budget, and also other documents on public exhibition including the four-year Council Plan and the Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan.
Community drop-in sessions:
• Thursday, 4 May outside Target Colac, from 10am - 1pm
• Thursday, 11 May outside Apollo Bay Bakery, from 10am-1pm
The draft budget is available for download at www.colacotway.vic.gov.au or can be viewed in hard copy at Council’s customer service centres and public libraries in Colac and Apollo Bay from Monday, 1 May.
Further Councillor comments on budget
Cr Terry Woodcroft
“The first budget for our most recently elected council is now a reality. It represents exactly what can be achieved when leadership and unity are combined with a positive attitude. I would personally like to congratulate our newly elected members for their calm and determined contribution and willingness to work as a team. Returning councillor Stephen Hart provided vital financial acumen and audit committee experience.
I also wish to acknowledge our dedicated council officers and CEO who have again displayed the excellent support and professionalism that I have learned to rely on throughout the lengthy annual budget process. I invite and welcome your comments, questions or submissions for the 2017 draft budget.”