BULOKE Shire Council has proposed a rate increase of two per cent for general rates in its draft 2018-19 Budget.
This increase is below the rate cap of 2.25 per cent set by the Victorian Essential Services Commission.
Council has also proposed to reduce the differential rate for farming land from 98 per cent to 90 per cent.
Buloke Shire Council Mayor David Pollard said the rate changes would help ease the rate burden on farmers.
“The application of a two per cent rate rise is council lifting our share of the load while still delivering existing service levels,” he said.
“While council has adopted the two per cent increase in the general rates, the actual rate increases experienced by individual ratepayers will be different due to this being a municipal revaluation year.
“In a revaluation year, rate increases are impacted by the average rate increase (two per cent) and the property valuation increases of individual properties relative to the average valuation increase of 14.09 per cent across the municipality.
“In short, after allowing for all these adjustments the average residential rates will reduce by two per cent approximately in 2018-19 compared to last year.
“The decision to reduce the farming differential takes into consideration (that) the average increase in the farm rates would have been substantially higher if council had not amended the farm rate differential.
“Farm rates on the other hand will increase on average by five per cent approximately in 2018-19 compared to last year.”
Residents will also see a rise in general waste and recycling charges, with the kerbside garbage and recycling charge set to increase by $33 per household.
Council has outlined a plan to use $12.85 million to fund infrastructure assets, complete the 2016 flood restoration works, develop a rating strategy, deliver its own direct library service and the implement the Buloke Inclusiveness Plan.
Project priorities on council’s capital works program include Donald Community Precinct development, upgrades to the amenity blocks at Watchem, Tchum and Wooroonook lakes and a $10.8 million investment into the road network.
Cr Pollard said the Budget would help council deliver on key priorities from its four-year Council Plan.
“The proposed budget was developed through a rigorous process of consultation and review,” he said.
“In Buloke we know to get the job done we must share the load.
“We have prioritised what our community have indicated to us, delivering on key projects to improve roads, buildings and recreational facilities.
“I invite the community to review the budget and make their submissions.”
Residents can written submissions on the Budget before 4pm on Friday, June 8.