It gives us great pleasure to present the 2016/2017 budget to the Ararat Rural City Council community.
For the 2016/17 financial year, Council proposes to increase the amount received from rates and municipal charges by 2.5%. This is in line with the new Fair Go Rates System (FGRS) introduced by the State Government. Council elected not to apply to the Essential Services Commission (ESC) for a variation in 2016/17.
Rate capping will restrict Council’s capacity to raise income at an appropriate level to fund Council’s operations. It is well recognised that Council provides a number of regional city style services, but with a smaller population than most cities that provide that level of service. Council will need to reassess all service levels and priorities with the aim to reduce expenditure where possible.
The rate cap applies to the average annual increase of rates and municipal charges. The actual rate increase experienced by individual ratepayers will be different as 2016 is a municipal revaluation year.
The 2016 general valuation has resulted in increases in valuations for all differential property types – “general” valuations have increased by 4.08%, “commercial” valuations have increased by 6.95%, “industrial” valuations have increased by 11.34% and “farm” valuations have increased by 7.07%. The rating strategy has been reviewed and there have been no changes proposed to the differential rating system.
The total Capital Works program will be $15.303 million. Of the $15.303 million in Capital funding required, $3.997 million will come from Council operations, $8.81 million from external grants, $0.10 million from community contributions, $1.00 million from loan borrowings, $1.196 million transferred from Council reserves and $0.20 million from asset sales.
Highlights of the Capital Works program includes:
- $8.171 million for buildings: – including the Ararat Performing Arts Centre/ Ararat Regional Art Gallery Upgrade, the Moyston Hall Upgrade, the Men’s Shed and stage 2 of the Alexandra Oval netball court (subject to State Government funding).
- $5.943 million for roads – Including road reconstructions, reseals, re-sheeting, bridge improvements, culvert replacement and footpaths (including new kerb ramps for disabled access) $0.1743 million for drains – Including road drainage replacement works.
- $0.92 million for plant and equipment – Including major items of plant and vehicles.
The proposed budget has been developed through a rigorous process of consultation and review and Council endorses it as financially responsible in the short term. We encourage you to read the remainder of this document in conjunction with our revised Council Plan 2013-2017.
Cr Paul Hooper