No-frills to 3.7 per cent rise in rates
RATEPAYERS can expect an average increase of 3.7 per cent when they check their mailbox next week, depending on land valuations.
General rates are going up an average 3.7 per cent and utility charges another 3.7 per cent, or around $73 in total, after the new Cairns Regional Council handed down this financial year’s budget earlier this week.
Mayor Bob Manning gave a forewarning in his introductory speech in the budget to expect rates to possibly rise 5 per cent the next financial year to counter a deficit this year of $6.6 million.
He said council’s overall yield from rates will be 3.7 per cent, the .7 per cent to allow for the cost of the carbon tax, which means subsidised housing will pay less and higher value properties will pay more.
“Next year the rate increase will depend upon what growth we’ve had in council, if we have any new subdivision and new properties paying rates, if it’s fairly strong growth it will lessen the increase in rates,” he said.
“I would estimate we should get a little bit of growth and that will bring our required rate adjustment back a little bit but at this stage of the game it’s best to be conservative and say 4 to 5 per cent, it depends on economic conditions.”
Mayor Manning said if economic conditions worsen then council will look at cutting costs even more but “forecasting is a very tricky business”.
The budget has proposed total operating expenses will be $298.37 million with a deficit of $6.6 million and the council aims to bring the budget back into balance during the 2013-14 financial year.
“When you look at the overall budget there are no real big ticket items in it because this is not the time, I doubt you are going out to buy a new car this year or house, I’m in the same boat and council is in the same boat too,” Mr Manning said.
“It’s about being prudent and careful, this is not the time to be taking risks but we also don’t want to increase the unemployment problem by pulling back on work.
“If we start to see economic conditions improving and start to see confidence returning to the business sector then council too can start to spend a little bit more.”
Do not forget to pay your rates before the due date - if overdue, interest will be charged at the rate of 11 per cent per annum calculated at compound interest at daily rates on all rates and charges. Ratepayers experiencing hardship and cannot pay their rates and charges should contact the council’s customer service centre on 4044 3044.
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