HORSHAM residents paid more than $17 million in rates and municipal charges last financial year.
General rates contributed $10,328,000, while farmers $4,219,000.
Council’s financial report, released on Monday last week, showed there was a $1.1-million rate increase compared with the previous financial year.
The report also showed council received more than $13.5 million in non-recurrent government grants – almost $10 million more than what council had budgeted for.
The grants included $3.2 million for flood restoration, $400,000 for sport upgrades, $300,000 for Pynsent Street redevelopment and $326,000 through two sustainability grants.
Council chief executive Peter Brown said the flood money had been invaluable.
“We didn’t budget for all the government grants; we knew we would receive some flood money but we really had no way of knowing how much it would be,” he said.
“It has been an enormous help for this community in rehabilitating roads, the tennis courts and lots of other community infrastructure assets that were damaged.”
Council has a total borrowing of more than $4.2 million in long-term loans, including $766,000 that must be repaid this financial year.
Mr Brown said council was in a strong financial position.
“In budgeting for the town hall project, we have also budgeted for additional loans and the repayment of those loans,” he said.
“The report shows that we are in a sound financial position and there were no surprises in there.”
Cr Heather Phillips questioned an $83,000 drop in performance ticket sales in 2012-13 compared with the previous financial year.
“That sets up a question about why that is and whether there is a downturn in the interest in performance,” she said.
“That is a bit scary when we are embarking on a new performing arts centre.
“I am wondering if there has been a downturn in that general interest and, if so, we have to be very careful of the decisions in the next short while.”
Council attributed the drop to a reduced program ahead of Horsham Town Hall and Art Gallery redevelopment and choosing to hire out the Wesley Performing Arts Centre rather than host shows itself.