Rate rise of 2.0 per cent underpins fair and responsible 2018/19 budget
June 28, 2018

More than $6.2 million will be spent on roads, bridges and drainage throughout Colac Otway Shire in 2018/19 following the adoption of the Council’s budget last night.

Councillors voted to increase rates by 2.0 per cent, which is 0.25 per cent less than the available state rate cap.

Mayor Joe McCracken said Colac Otway was one of only four of the state’s 79 councils to increase rates by less than the cap in 2017/18 and would be one of very few sparing ratepayers of the full 2.25 per cent cap in 2018/19.

“That’s something we’re very proud of and reflects that we are committed to keeping costs for property owners to a minimum and protecting the affordability of living and doing business in Colac Otway Shire,” he said.

“Our budget will see an average rise in total rates and charges of $1.27 per week, which includes 33 cents a week extra for kerbside bin collection to help deal with the current recycling crisis.

“Councillors and staff worked very hard for many months to find savings, cut our costs and keep our 2018/19 increase in rates and charges to an absolute minimum while still being financially responsible and continuing to invest in our communities.”

Cr McCracken said the budget also reduced the Rural Farm Rate Differential from 77 to 75 per cent of the Residential Colac Rate to offset the 2018/19 increase for the agricultural community.

“There has been a lot of advocacy work done by our farming community regarding the fairness of the differential rating system and we’ve listened to those concerns by easing the farm rate,” he said.

“The budget process is always a challenge, but I’m proud that we have worked with a lot of stakeholders to deliver on our commitment to be as fair as possible.”

Since the draft budget was exhibited publicly in early May, the Victorian Grants Commission finalised its operating grants for Colac Otway Shire in 2018/19. An additional $370,000 above the budget estimate has been secured, which will now be placed into a Capital Reserve.

Last night, Councillors took the opportunity to add further projects to the 2018/19 budget, following the public submission process.

These included additional work on the Old Beechy Rail Trail (subject to a scheduled audit), construction of toilets at the Cororooke tennis courts, footpath upgrades, energy efficient street lighting and the reservation of funds for investment in the Apollo Bay - Skenes Creek Discovery Trail later this year.

It is proposed that surplus funds now in Capital Reserve be provided to fund these proposed projects.

“We received 84 submissions from 74 people to the proposed budget and these projects were raised in that community process, so to be able to incorporate them into the budget last night was pleasing,” Cr McCracken said.

“Many of the other submissions made will also help inform our 2019/20 budget deliberations, so I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to make a submission and contribute to our 2018/19 budget process.”


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