HORSHAM Rural City ratepayers could contribute more than $27 million to cover the council's $50 million 2019-20 Budget.
The council passed a motion at its latest meeting to release its draft Budget to the community for consultation.
Total revenue for the council in 2019-20 is expected to be $57.7 million, while expenditure is predicted to be $54.2 million. The council has budgeted for a surplus of $3.4 million.
The council is expected to receive $20.9 million in general rates in 2019-20, subject to the council's general rate cap of 2.25 per cent. This is 3.81 per cent or $768,205 more than 2018-19.
Residential ratepayers are expected to pay $12.6 million in rates, which is 9.19 per cent or $1.06 million more than 2018-19.
Rural ratepayers will pay $5.77 million in rates, which is a decrease of 5.83 per cent or $357,695 from the previous financial year.
Commercial ratepayers are estimated to pay $1.65 million in rates, while industrial ratepayers will fork out $844,750.
The council will lose $46,900 in revenue due to the council's decision to lower its municipal charge from $287 to $280.
The total revenue of rates and charges is estimated at $27.5 million for 2019-20, or 47.8 per cent of all revenue. This is an increase from 2018-19's total of $26.7 million.
Other revenue comes from municipal charges, waste management charges, and supplementary rates and rate adjustments.
Chief executive Sunil Bhalla said expenditure on rural roads would increase by $1.22 million, or 39.7 per cent, from the 2018-19 Budget.
"It's worth noting that dedicated rate expenditure on renewal works is now at $2.64 million with 41.2 per cent of this being spent on rural roads," Mr Bhalla said.
The draft Budget includes $20.3 million for capital works, $9.8 million for renewal works, $1.6 million for asset upgrades and $8.8 million for new assets.
"New assets include $3.03 million for the roofing of the Horsham Regional Livestock Exchange; $2.49 million for core infrastructure assets for the further development of the Wimmera Intermodal Freight Terminal, which was held over from 2018-19; and $1.61 million for activation of the Wimmera River and central Horsham," Mr Bhalla said.
See council's April 2019 meeting agenda below
Cr John Robinson said he thought the Budget was "underdone".
"I don't know if we've spent enough time on this. I appreciate the massive effort that the team has done to make it, but I just want to know that we'll put aside enough time to go through it," he said.
Cr David Grimble said he was pleased to see attention given to the Horsham Regional Livestock Exchange.
"This project is one that has very little political angst. It recently had support from the federal government and hopefully we can try to attract some funding from the state government too," he said.
"I know our CEO has thrown around some extra cost-cutting measures, so I look forward to seeing some of the work he is proposing to make changes."
Councillors unanimously passed a motion to approve the draft Budget and release it to the public.
Community members can view the draft Budget online or at the council offices. Submissions are due by May 27.
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