Federation Council’s draft 2017/18 budget will be based on a new valuation which will see a significant increase in the value of rural land by as much as 30% in some instances.
“This will have an impact on who pays rates from respective classes,” council’s General Manager Chris Gillard said.
“Rural rates are likely to increase above the level of residential rates although a full analysis needs to be completed and valuation objections are still being considered.”
Otherwise, rate increases will be 7% in the former Corowa Shire and 1.5% in the former Urana Shire. “This is because of government direction about rate structures and rate capping,” Mr Gillard said. The 7% is based on a special past approval.
In his report tabled at council’s monthly meeting on April 18, Mr Gillard said the Minister for Local Government has been asked to consider the impact of rate freeze policy on low rating councils “however any change may take time to achieve”.
Business plans are being reviewed by each council department for information into the draft budget prior to community consultation during May.
“Staff have been working hard supported by contractors to deliver a large capital works program,” Mr Gillard said.
While some good results have been achieved, the flood damage has put the program back. Some carry over works will not be completed as the winter season needs to pass prior to major works proceeding.
“The 2017/18 program is well developed and an additional $3.8 million allocated through Stronger Regions Fund. This will see a large road expenditure in 2017/18 which was a specific need identified by the community in the Customer Satisfaction Survey several months ago.”
Investigations are underway into Urana, Corowa, Mulwala and Howlong urban drainage to develop a 10-year works program for consideration as part of the draft budget for 2017/18.
The ‘themes’ for the upcoming budget, Mr Gillard said, would be more capital works for roads across the council area, a tight operating budget, an increased emphasis on staff training and innovation, delivery of a range of community facilities and projects from the Stronger Regions Fund, a focus on design and scoping of major projects prior to inclusion in budgets and the 7 and 1.5 rate increases.