Budget clarity call
DERWENT Valley Deputy Mayor Ben Shaw has called for more transparency about the council’s annual budget.
The Derwent Valley Council’s 2018-19 annual budget of $15.2 million was adopted in a special council meeting last month.
The meeting focused on delivering local public services, amenities and infrastructure to the region.
The general rate increase has been set at 5.85 per cent, with an increase of the waste management levy.
Cr Shaw said the community needed a better understanding about rate rises andasked that the council draw up a full report to outline all shortcomings from the past few years.
“I’ve approached senior management and said, ‘we keep hitting the ratepayer up time after time, without telling them why’,” Cr Shaw said.
“I believe all the figures in the budget paper should be spelled out clearly in layman’s terms.
“It’s about being upfront with the community and outlining ‘this is what we were previously charging, and these are the reasons why increases occur’.”
The 2018-19 budget accounts for the investment of $5.7 million for capital works and an outlay of $14.7 million on operating costs.
Planned capital works, budgeted at $5.7 million, will include more than $2 million for flood-affected assets and more than $3 million for new and existing infrastructure.
This includes funds for the reconstruction of Blair St/Grey St, the reconstruction of Third Ave, footpath replacement, the reseal of Sixth Ave, and the installation of a new public toilet in the Upper Derwent Valley.
The $14.7 million allocated for operating expenses include funds to be spent on employee benefits, materials and services, state taxes, plant and vehicle running, finance costs, and depreciation and amortisation.
Property rates continue to be the council’s main source for income, accounting for $5.8 million in annual revenue.
The council’s yearly budget process calls for submissions from the public on what should be included. This process allows real input from residents.
Some of the projects funded this year are $72,000 to further upgrade public toilets outside the council administration office, $40,000 towards works to widen Glen Dhu Rd, and $5500 for the installation of familyfriendly change rooms at the New Norfolk Swimming Pool.