Coun­cil pre­pares to set bud­get

The Free Press (Corowa) - - NEWS -

A 23 per­cent in­crease in farm land val­ues in the Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil area is likely to set the di­rec­tion for a 14.9 per­cent rate in­crease for ru­ral zone land hold­ers ac­cord­ing to Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil Ad­min­is­tra­tor Mike Eden.

“Ru­ral rates are likely to in­crease above the level of res­i­den­tial rates fol­low­ing a full anal­y­sis of val­u­a­tions and rate in­creases,” Mr Eden said.

“Res­i­den­tial land own­ers are also likely to see a 7 per­cent in­crease in the for­mer Corowa Shire and 1.5 per­cent in­crease in the for­mer Urana Shire.

“It has been quite a de­tailed process, work­ing through the anal­y­sis of val­u­a­tions and rate in­creases be­cause of gov­ern­ment di­rec­tion about rate struc­tures and rate cap­ping, with the 7 per­cent in­crease based on a spe­cial past ap­proval.”

At coun­cil’s monthly meet­ing on Thurs­day, Mr Eden is set to con­sider Coun­cil’s De­liv­ery Pro­gram 2017-2020 and Op­er­a­tional Plan 2017-2018 which was on pub­lic ex­hi­bi­tion un­til June 23.

Mr Eden said feed­back cap­tured from res­i­dents at the five pub­lic meet­ings held in May, as well as writ­ten sub­mis­sions re­ceived up un­til last Fri­day, had been con­sid­ered when fi­nal­is­ing the doc­u­ments.

“In the draft De­liv­ery Pro­gram 2017-2020 and Op­er­a­tional Plan 2017-2018 it is high­lighted that one of our re­oc­cur­ring ob­jec­tives is to en­gage with our com­mu­ni­ties and seek feed­back on coun­cil mat­ters and de­ci­sions,” Mr Eden said.

“The pub­lic meet­ings and writ­ten sub­mis­sions have of­fered great in­sight and as­sis­tance when it has come to the de­ci­sion mak­ing process of these two im­por­tant doc­u­ments.”

Mr Eden said he un­der­stood no-one liked to pay ad­di­tional rates, but was con­fi­dent in the value for money for all stake­hold­ers.

“In­vestors in farm­land have been vin­di­cated, with ris­ing land val­ues across the coun­cil area sup­ported by strong com­mod­ity prices, good weather and ex­pec­ta­tions of fur­ther growth,” Mr Eden said.

“This pros­per­ous in­crease in farm land val­ues in the coun­cil area is a win for our farm­ers which in turn shows there is no bet­ter time to in­vest in ru­ral prop­er­ties in the Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil area.”

Mr Eden said coun­cil planned to de­liver mil­lions into road main­te­nance and re­newal, feed­back he said had been con­sis­tently re­ceived from res­i­dents through com­mu­nity meet­ings and writ­ten sub­mis­sions.

“Coun­cil have pro­posed a cap­i­tal works bud­get of $15 mil­lion which will be pri­mar­ily spent on ru­ral roads,” Mr Eden said.

“We know we have some catch­ing up to do in terms of road main­te­nance and ser­vice de­liv­ery across the coun­cil area and if the rate in­crease is adopted it will only sup­port our de­liv­ery ob­jec­tives.”

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