Bud­get clar­ity call

The Gazette (Derwent Valley) - - NEWS -

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.

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