The 2016-17 budget has been developed though a rigorous process of consultation and review and details the resources required over the next year to fund the large and varied range of services Council provides to the community.
The budget calls for an overall increase in rates of 2.5%, in line with the introduction of the 'Fair Go Rates System' which places a cap on Council's total rate increase.
In addition to this restriction on Council's ability to raise funds through rates, the Australian Government has retained a freeze on the previously indexed Financial Assistance Grants that are provided to local government. This ongoing freeze has resulted in Council's funding being reduced by approximately $0.29 million since 2014-15. Council would need to raise rates by approximately 4% to offset this loss of income.
To combat these factors Council has reduced its overall spending by over $0.53 million. Despite this Council has been able to maintain services at the same levels as the previous year.
Council has maintained a strong and robust capital works program of $5.97 million, of which $5.81 million relates to renewing and upgrading our existing community assets. Of our total capital spend, $3.70 million will be spent of renewing and upgrading our local road network.
The budget includes a number of new and ongoing initiatives:
- Provision of Aged and Disability Care Services ($0.710 million)
- Provision of Youth and Children's Services ($0.692 million)
- Ongoing maintenance on our local roads and bridges ($1.985 million)
- Support for Library Services ($0.161 million)
- Maintenance of Parks and Reserve across the shire ($0.451 million)
- Operation and maintenance of public recreation facilities, including swimming pools and public halls ($0.303 million)
- Provision of Environmental Health and Pest and Weed Control ($0.223 million)
In developing the 2016-17 Budget Council has been very aware of the need to balance the financial sustainability of Council with the demand for services and growth along with the community's capacity to pay. Council has ensured that the budget remains cash neutral to maintain sustainability whilst maintaining community service levels.