Draft bud­get on ex­hi­bi­tion

Yarrawonga Chronicle - - Front Page - BY ROBERT MUIR

Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil’s draft bud­get for 2017/18 will be on pub­lic ex­hi­bi­tion for 28 days, from this Satur­day, May 27 to Fri­day, June 23.

It in­cludes a 1.5% in­crease in gen­eral rate in­come for former Urana Shire prop­er­ties, in ac­cor­dance with NSW Gov­ern­ment rate peg­ging.

The former Corowa Shire had an ex­ist­ing rate vari­a­tion in place which was ap­proved by IPART (In­de­pen­dent Pric­ing and Reg­u­la­tory Tri­bunal). This al­lowed for a 7% in­crease in gen­eral rates for prop­er­ties un­til the end of 2017/18.

New prop­erty val­u­a­tions, how­ever, ap­ply from July 1 which will mean dif­fer­ing rate in­creases for prop­er­ties through­out the former Corowa Shire.

As ex­am­ples, former Corowa Shire Coun­cil farm­land val­u­a­tions have in­creased 14.5% on av­er­age. Res­i­den­tial and Busi­ness val­u­a­tions have min­i­mal change of 3.9% av­er­age.

Former Urana Shire farm­land val­u­a­tions have in­creased 3% on av­er­age, busi­ness up 4.5% on av­er­age while res­i­den­tial has de­clined by an av­er­age of 15.1%.

Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil re­ceived the prop­erty 2016 val­u­a­tions and is re­quired to use th­ese to levy the 2017/18 rates.

“Farm­ers have ben­e­fit­ted by an av­er­age of 25 per cent in­creases in prop­erty val­ues and av­er­age farm rates will in­crease ap­prox­i­mately 15 per cent in the former Corowa Shire,” coun­cil’s Gen­eral Man­ager Chris Gil­lard said.

“Res­i­den­tial rates will in­crease less than 5 per cent on av­er­age.”

Rate no­tices will in­clude the Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vices Levy, as re­cently ex­plained di­rectly to house­holds by coun­cil.

Gen­er­ally, through­out Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil area, fees and charges will in­crease by 1.5%.

Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil doc­u­ments to be ex­hib­ited for the 28- day pe­riod will in­clude: *a list of the prin­ci­pal ac­tiv­i­ties to be un­der­taken by coun­cil, to­gether with ob­jec­tives, strate­gies and per­for­mance measures for each ac­tiv­ity * a rat­ing struc­ture for the year 2017/18 to be

ef­fec­tive from July 1, 2017 * a full list­ing of fee and charges for 2017/18 * a de­tailed state­ment of the pro­posed es­ti­mates of in­come and ex­pen­di­ture for the pe­riod 2017-2020 to­gether with a state­ment of the pro­posed bud­gets for those years * a 10-year Fi­nan­cial Plan.

A $14,929,434 cap­i­tal works pro­gram is pro­posed. A Gen­eral Fund Op­er­at­ing Sur­plus for 2017/18 as at June 30, 2018 is pre­dicted to be $1,062,555 (be­fore cap­i­tal grants and con­tri­bu­tions).

The bud­get de­tails do not in­clude the ad­di­tional funds pro­vided at the time of the merger of $15 mil­lion Stronger Com­mu­nity Fund.

“The $15 mil­lion is not part of the bud­get - it is be­ing treated sep­a­rately to clearly let you know where that money will be ex­pended,” Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil Ad­min­is­tra­tor Mike Eden said.

“Ten mil­lion dol­lars will be al­lo­cated to 54 projects across coun­cil. With the $5 mil­lion to fund the cost of amal­ga­ma­tion, sig­nif­i­cant funds will re­main un­spent for the new coun­cil (coun­cil elec­tions in Septem­ber) to de­cide.”

Main­te­nance of sealed and un­sealed roads through­out Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil area scored poorly in a sur­vey con­ducted by the NSW Gov­ern­ment and was seen as a top pri­or­ity.

Cus­tomer ser­vice, main­te­nance of pub­lic open spa­ces, wa­ter and sew­er­age ser­vices, waste ser­vices, li­braries and arts all scored well and were seen as con­tin­u­ing pri­or­i­ties.

Mr Eden said a list­ing of all road­works to­talling $3.8 mil­lion pro­posed would be in­cluded in the ex­hi­bi­tion doc­u­ments.

He said road in­spec­tions had been un­der­taken by coun­cil staff to ob­tain first­hand knowl­edge. “There’s an em­pha­sis on re­newal, rather than new, and pri­or­ity for road up­grades lead­ing to and from grain si­los,” the Ad­min­is­tra­tor said.

Some 400 res­i­dents were sur­veyed to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion on com­mu­nity views and sat­is­fac­tion with coun­cil ser­vices. Three rounds of Stronger Com­mu­ni­ties con­sul­ta­tion called for all com­mu­nity needs and wish list projects/ ser­vices.

“This in­for­ma­tion has helped us to pre­pare the draft bud­get,” Mr Eden told a pub­lic meet­ing at Corowa Golf Club on Mon­day night.

The meet­ing was a com­mu­nity in­for­ma­tion ses­sion re­gard­ing the 2017/18 draft bud­get. Just 10 peo­ple, other than coun­cil ex­ec­u­tive and Lo­cal Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Com­mit­tee mem­bers, at­tended the ses­sion.

Mr Eden em­pha­sised the need for com­mu­nity feed­back. “If you have any sug­ges­tions, or think, for ex­am­ple that a dif­fer­ent road should be pri­ori­tised, we’d wel­come that in­for­ma­tion for con­sid­er­a­tion for the fi­nal bud­get,” he said.

Res­i­dents will have the op­por­tu­nity to com­plete a feed­back form avail­able from coun­cil’s web­site www.fed­er­a­tioncoun­cil.nsw.gov.au and com­ments will be con­sid­ered in the prepa­ra­tion of the fi­nal draft. Doc­u­ments on ex­hi­bi­tion will be avail­able at all coun­cil agen­cies.

The fi­nal bud­get is planned to be adopted at coun­cil’s monthly meet­ing on Thurs­day, June 29, 2017.

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