Draft bud­get on dis­play

The Free Press (Corowa) - - FRONT PAGE - BY ROBERT MUIR

All the ma­jor projects through­out the Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil area to be un­der­taken fol­low­ing the $10 mil­lion sweet­ener from the NSW Gov­ern­ment for the former Urana and Corowa Shires to amal­ga­mate last year were shown by Mr But­ler.

Just a hand­ful of Corowa res­i­dents - other than coun­cil staff and coun­cil­lors - at­tended the bud­get in­for­ma­tion ses­sion. No ques­tions were asked of coun­cil.

It con­trasted to the 11 Mul­wala and dis­trict res­i­dents who at­tended the Mul­wala ses­sion the pre­vi­ous week. The ses­sion lasted 90 min­utes.

As in draft bud­get in­for­ma­tion ses­sions in years gone by at Mul­wala, the ques­tion of rates was raised and re­ceived plenty of dis­cus­sion at Mul­wala.

Af­ter four years of spe­cial State Gov­ern­ment ap­proval for the former Corowa Shire to im­pose a rate in­crease higher than the state peg­ging rate, Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil is now in line with the state peg­ging, which will be 2.3% for 2018/19, for the whole coun­cil area.

At the Mul­wala meet­ing, Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil’s di­rec­tor fi­nance and or­gan­i­sa­tion de­vel­op­ment Kim Parker ad­vised that with the State Gov­ern­ment rate cap­ping of 2.3%, no change to the rat­ing struc­ture will oc­cur for at least four years, un­til at least 2021/22.

“There are to be no spe­cial rate in­creases (ie be­yond the rate cap­ping) or re-ar­rang­ing of rates to be ap­plied be­fore 2021/2022 and there’s a land val­u­a­tion in that year,” he said.

Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil, is how­ever, to em­bark on a rate re­view. “We’ll have to look at all ser­vices - what’s done ‘out the back’ com­pared to towns,” Mr Parker said. “Coun­cil’s com­mit­ted to do­ing that re­view.”

Mr Parker said so much comes into what rates ap­ply across all the cat­e­gories, in­clud­ing ac­cess to what ser­vices. “It’s a tax,” he said.

It all starts with land val­u­a­tions. For 2017/18, farm val­u­a­tions soared in in­stances, for the first time in years and coun­cil, un­der the Ad­min­is­tra­tor be­fore the elec­tion of the first Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil last Septem­ber, kept rate in­creases to 14%, about half of the in­creased land val­u­a­tion in­creases.

Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil’s $75 mil­lion bud­get, which in­cludes a $42 mil­lion cap­i­tal works pro­gram, is on pub­lic ex­hi­bi­tion from May 25 to June 22.

The fi­nal bud­get is to be adopted at coun­cil’s next monthly meet­ing, on June 26.

Coun­cil urges ratepay­ers and res­i­dents to pe­ruse all the bud­get pa­pers at a Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil office or agency or re­fer to https:// www.fed­er­a­tioncoun­cil.nsw.gov.au

Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil’s In­terim Gen­eral Man­ager Adrian But­ler pre­sented a 25-minute slideshow of coun­cil’s 2018/19 draft bud­get at Corowa RSL Club on Tues­day, June 5.

Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil’s In­terim Gen­eral Man­ager Adrian But­ler, Di­rec­tor In­fra­struc­ture and En­gi­neer­ing Peter Gall and Di­rec­tor Fi­nance and Or­gan­i­sa­tion De­vel­op­ment Kim Parker speak­ing at the draft bud­get meet­ing in Mul­wala.

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