|Council approves 2011-12 budget |
State Government changes to landfill levies have added another 0.15 per cent to Colac Otway Shire Council’s 2011-12 rate rise.
Council approved its 2011-12 budget at its June meeting yesterday, which includes a 5.65 per cent rate rise.
Mayor Brian Crook said the draft budget outlined a 5.5 per cent rate rise, but new information from the State Government after Council released its budget meant Council had to find more for landfill levies than originally accounted for.
“It is important for ratepayers to note that 2.2 per cent of this year’s rates will go to the State Government for landfill levies,” he said.
Cr Crook said this year’s budget was a “no frills” document which sought a balance between the community’s demands for services and infrastructure, and people’s capacity to pay.
Highlights in the budget include $200,000 to extend and upgrade a building to house Apollo Bay’s library, $15,000 for the development of a masterplan for the former Colac High School, and $210,000 in additional funding for Coswork’s roadside maintenance activities.
Cr Crook said the state government’s $1 million Country Roads and Bridges initiative had enabled Council to boost its road maintenance crews, and also schedule the renewal of J Barry’s Road bridge, an upgrade to the intersection of Sinclair Street and Irrewillipe Road, repair landslips on various roads in the Otways and reconstruct road pavement on Marriner’s Lookout Road.
Big ticket projects in the budget include an upgrade of the Bluewater Fitness Centre stadium, which was a Federal Government election commitment.
Council has allocated $2 million for the project in the coming financial year, with the balance of funding to come in future years, subject to government funding.
Cr Crook said Council’s budget was poised to achieve an operating surplus for the fourth consecutive year, while also continuing to meet the infrastructure renewal gap.
“The Local Government Cost Index forecast that it will cost councils an average 3.6 per cent more to deliver the same services as last year. If you take the cost of the State Government’s landfill levy out of this year’s rate rise, you will see that this council has done everything it can to minimise the cost impost on our community.
“Despite increased cost shifting from all levels of government, and growing demands on local government from our community, we have managed to deliver a budget which delivers on our key priorities while maintaining a modest rate rise,” he said.
“We recognise that the spiralling cost of living is putting immense pressure on our community, and we do not take rate rises lightly.
“We want our community to understand that this Council is doing all it can to advocate for a fairer deal for rural Victoria - not just in the area of roads funding – but across the board.
June 30, 2011