Rates to rise

A RATE increase of six per cent has been proposed for the Wellington Shire Council budget.

To be unveiled during tonight’s council meeting, the draft 2013-14 budget includes an increase in revenue from rates and charges of 5.7 per cent.

Last financial year, these revenues increased by 6.6 per cent from the previous, while it is forecast to be 6.3 per cent this financial year.

The waste infrastructure charge will remain at $32, while the garbage charge will increase by $5 to $169.

A separate EPA levy charge will remain at $14.92 for each property which receives a garbage collection service.

The draft budget includes a $35.34 million capital works program, including $3.86 million in projects carried forward from this financial year.

Council will directly fund $13.85 million of the program, with the remainder from grants, borrowings and investments.

The rate increase is seen as essential to maintain an affordable level of borrowings and continue to deliver on agreed service levels.

The capital works program for 2012-13 is forecast to be $22.9 million.

This year’s program includes the beginning of the Sale art gallery and library development ($5 million), completion of the Yarram Community Hub ($4.9 million), upgrade to the intersection of the Princes Highway and Cobains Rd, Sale ($2.5 million), Yarram Recreation Reserve club room refurbishment ($2.1 million), Sale Livestock Exchange upgrade ($800,000), completion of the Rosedale Pool upgrade ($635,000), lighting upgrades at the Maffra Recreation Reserve ($250,000) and the Stratford Community Health Hub ($100,000).

The budget includes provision for $10.3 million in borrowings for the Sale library and Yarram Hub projects, upgrade of the Cobains Rd and Princes Highway intersection and covers $3 million in council’s unfunded superannuation liability.

Net borrowings will increase to $17.2 million.

During its meeting tonight from 6pm in the Port of Sale Civic Centre, council will vote to advertise the draft budget for public submissions, which will considered during a meeting on May 21 before the budget is formally adopted on June 4.