Hindmarsh Shire to increase rates

Hindmarsh Shire to increase rates

Hindmarsh Shire to increase rates

HINDMARSH Shire Council will increase its municipal rates by six per cent in the coming financial year.

The announcement was in council's 2014-2018 Council Plan and Strategic Resource Plan, released on Wednesday.

Council's budget has been delayed until May 22.

The boost to council's income will be spent on maintaining existing service levels, funding new initiatives and renewing infrastructure.

Capital expenditure for the 2014-15 financial year will be $5.770 million.

Rates represent 33 per cent of council's income.

A financial report has recommended council raise its rates to ensure its long-term financial viability.

Hindmarsh Shire Council has performed well in short-term economic studies.

But the Strategic Resource Plan reads: "Hindmarsh Shire has potentially very little capacity to generate revenue to fund required services, and this makes us financially unsustainable in the long-term.''

Mayor Rob Gersch said the rates increase was in keeping with council's rising costs.

Council aims to complete more than 20 projects by the end of the 2014-15 financial year.

It aims to boost community liveability, Hindmarsh Shire's built and natural environment, its people and processes, and build a competitive and innovative economy.

Cr Gersch said 11 of the 74 objectives outlined had already been completed.

Notable among them were the opening of council's redeveloped shire offices, and the Open for Business project at Nhill.

"A further five objectives are due to be completed in the coming months, and another 27 objectives are on track to be completed as initially anticipated within the life of the four-year plan," Cr Gersch said.

"The remaining 31 objectives will, by their nature, be recurring for the next four years."

By June 2015, council aims to have reviewed community action plans for Dimboola, Jeparit, Nhill and Rainbow.

It will review the safety of its towns' central business districts, and review council's recreation strategy.

Precinct plans will be drawn up for Dimboola and Nhill.

Jeparit's precinct plan is slated to be finished by the end of the 2015-16 financial year.

Rainbow Recreation Reserve's master plan has already been reviewed.

Council will investigate the possibility of a trail along the Wimmera River and Lake Hindmarsh, subject to a feasibility study and funding.

Nhill Memorial Community Centre will be upgraded with digital technology.

The redevelopment of Dimboola's Lochiel and Lloyd streets should be finished by June next year.

Council is working on maintaining and improving the Jeparit levee bank.

It also plans to develop and implement an economic development strategy, a tourism strategy and a communications strategy.

Longer-term goals include advocating for the co-location of emergency services in Dimboola and encouraging people to take up the NBN.

"It is a positive document and we feel very strongly that we will be proactive in the future," Cr Gersch said.

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