Submissions for draft Budget 2018/19, Council Plan 2017-2021 and Rating Strategy 2018 now open

Posted Friday 11 May, 02:10pm

At a Special Council Meeting held on Tuesday, May 8, Ararat Rural City Council resolved to prepare a Budget for the financial year commencing July 1, 2018.

In accordance with the Local Government Act 1989 the Council also placed its Revised Draft Council Plan 2017-2021 on public exhibition.

A review of the Rating Strategy has also been undertaken by Council. The Strategy has been updated and is now being exhibited in draft form for community comment.

Written submissions from the community are welcomed for all three documents through until 5.15pm on Friday, June 8, 2018.

Any person wishing to make a submission on a proposal contained within the Budget, Council Plan or Rating Strategy must do so in writing addressed to Chief Executive Officer, Ararat Rural City Council, PO Box 246, Ararat 3377.

In reaching Tuesday’s resolution, Council was briefed on the outcomes of the Rating Strategy Advisory Group (RSAG) and Citizen Jury process, together with the recommendations made by each group.

Council voted in favour of a proposal of a nil rate rise for 2018/19.

CEO Allan Bawden said Council was also provided with modelling, based on a number of the options generated by RSAG and the Jury.

“The RSAG group put forward four options for the jury to consider. The jury built on the work of Rating Strategy Advisory Group in arriving at its recommendations,” he said.

Since the Jury weekend, Council has received the unaudited 2018 valuation from the Valuer General.

“This indicates movements in valuations across land classes of Residential (4%), Commercial (10%), Industrial (9%) and Farming (25%) over the past two years.

“The rating strategy proposed for consideration by the Council reflects the work of RSAG and the Jury with some variations.

“The major differences are around the level of the municipal charge, rebates and some changes to the differential rates to reflect the new valuation figures.”

If the Draft Budget is accepted by Council in its current form during Council’s Special Council Meeting on June 26, the following changes will come into effect:

a) The Total Municipal Rate revenue will not increase in the 2018/2019 Budget.

b) To ensure stability and the equitable imposition of rates, the following Differential percentages will apply to the 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21 rating years:

  • General 100%
  • Commercial/Industrial 125% of General
  • Farm 55% of General

Note: The Commercial land classification and the Industrial land classification will henceforth be treated as the Commercial/Industrial land classification.

c) The cost of kerbside recycling bin collections will increase by $35 per bin to offset the increased cost of recycling following China’s recent ban on accepting these materials from Australia.

d) The cost of kerbside waste collections and various other fees and charges will be increased to reflect CPI increases, statutory price increases and Council’s pricing policy to recover costs via user-pays principles, where appropriate.

e) Council will no longer provide a rebate for eligible concession card holders (was $92 in 2017/18).

f) Commencing with the 2019/2020 Budget, farmers who wish to receive the farm rate will need to supply Council with a statutory declaration to certify that the Australian Taxation Office currently recognises their primary producer status. This proposal allows sufficient time for all farmers to submit their declarations, and if no declaration is provided then the land will revert to the General Land classification (i.e. 100%).

Anyone wishing to speak to their written submission, can do so at the Special Council Meeting on June 12.

Please find attached the Draft Council Plan 2017-2021, Draft Rating Strategy 2018 and Draft Budget 2018/2019:

Draft Council Plan 2017-2021

Draft Rating Strategy 2018

Draft Budget 2018/2019