Shire rates up by 2.5 per cent

WELLINGTON Shire Council is proposing a 2.5 per cent rate rise for its 2016-17 budget.

The draft budget will be handed down during tonight’s council meeting.

Council’s rate rise matches the cap imposed by the state government. Straying over the cap would have required council to justify the rise to the Essential Services Commission.

There have been increases in waste-related charges.

Increasing costs of complying with Environmental Protection Authority requirements for landfills and transfer stations has led to a $10 increase in the waste infrastructure charge to $45 to fund future capital works. The garbage charge will increase to $181, while the EPA levy charge remains at $14.92.

The proposed increase in rates and charges takes into account the current economic climate and its effects on ratepayers, and balancing that with providing an acceptable level of service.

In recent years, with the rate capping looming, council has reviewed its services, identifying where savings can be made with minimal effect on the community.

Council intends to spend $44.7 million on capital works, with $19.59 million coming from government grants.

It expects total income for 2016-17 to be $95.92 million, $15 million more than the forecast total for 2015-16. Expenditure is tipped to rise by $4.5 million to $77 million.

An operational deficit of $541,000 is forecast for 2016-17, compared to a $3.89 million deficit predicted for the current financial year.

Following tonight’s meeting, in the Port of Sale Business Centre from 6pm, council will advertise its draft budget to receive submissions.

The budget will be formally adopted on June 21.