Strathbogie Shire Council

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Zero rate rise is key to community recovery plans

Zero rate rise is key to community recovery plans

Strathbogie Shire Council has outlined its path forward as it assists the community to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, with zero increase in rates a feature of the 2020/21 Council Budget.

After extensive consultation and feedback, Council has listened to the community as it adopted the 2020/21 Budget at a Special Meeting on Tuesday, 14 July.

Council unanimously supported a zero per cent rate increase for the financial year, while also committing to the delivery of a significant capital works and asset-renewal program.

Strathbogie Shire Mayor Cr Amanda McClaren said the 2020-21 Budget had been developed around supporting the community recovery from the pandemic, while including many exciting capital works projects.

“We are pleased to deliver a Budget firmly focused on supporting our community through the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,” Cr McClaren said.

“We received more than 91 submissions to the 2020/21 Draft Budget and we are grateful for all the community feedback.”

“We listened, asked for more time to deliberate, and this Budget outlines a capital works program that focuses on crucial projects for 2020/21. At the same time, it provides significant funding for renewal works on our aging and outdated infrastructure.”

With the Budget providing for no increase in the average rate per property Mayor McClaren noted that outcomes for individual properties would still vary, depending on how that property’s independent valuation had changed. The Valuations are undertaken annually by the State Valuer General and this year’s valuation occurred in January.

Over this, and the previous two Budgets, the Municipal Charge ($133 in 2019/20) has been removed while the farm rate differential has been reduced from 85 per cent to 80 per cent of the residential rate. This means that rates charged will be solely based on the value of a property.

Continuing the effort to encourage young families to move to the Shire the First Home Owners rate rebate has been maintained.

In recognition of challenges being faced by hospitality businesses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, fees for registered premises have been set at zero, while Council will also refund fees for the 2019/20 financial year. This will also apply to footpath trading fees.

Meanwhile, the capital works program will provide high quality infrastructure, which, in turn, will create economic benefits through the construction of new projects and maintenance of existing assets.

The 2020/21 Budget includes spending on essential infrastructure such as roads ($4.4 million), drainage ($440,000), footpaths ($166,000), and parks and streetscapes ($1.5 million).

Of particular note is continuation of an allocation of $400,000 for the Zero to One Roads improvement program, which will continue to upgrade the municipality’s unsealed roads This brings to $1.6 million the amount allocated to this initiative in the term of the current Council.

The Budget outlines $25.3 million on important services such as libraries, waste management, maintenance of roads, parks and gardens, animal management, maternal and child health, swimming pools and the arts and culture.

For the full capital works program see the 2020/21 Budget.

 

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