THE Wimmera's councils have released their draft Budgets for 2019-20, outlining how much rates residents will be expected to pay.
The state government announced in December it would set the 2019-20 cap at 2.5 per cent for all councils.
Last month Horsham council released its draft Budget for community consultation with a general rate increase of 2.25 per cent.
A breakdown of rate impacts for individuals showed that the change for residential ratepayers would be 9.19 per cent, while rural ratepayers would see a change of -5.83 per cent.
Commercial ratepayers would experience a 2.32 per cent change, while industrial would be a 2.69 per cent change.
Yarriambiack Shire Council has proposed a general rate increase of 2.23 per cent due to the council's slight over application in the 2018-19 financial year.
Residential rates are expected to be raised by 3.17 per cent on average, while rural rates will rise by 2.52 per cent. Commercial rates will rise by 7.31 per cent.
The council's municipal charge is expected to increase to $75.
Mayor Graeme Massey said the council has also proposed a farm rate differential of 62 per cent of the general rate.
"We can't reverse the way land prices are going in rural areas, all we can do is offer some compensation in relief. It's still not going to stop some rates going up into double-digit figures," he said.
"The rate system is something we're stuck with at the moment, and hopefully (the state government's rates inquiry) will look at some of the ways that help rural areas. We have rural rates that city councils don't."
Included in the draft Budget is a $7.4 million allocation for asset renewals and upgrades, along with $854,000 for new assets.
Roads will be one of the council's major focuses with an allocation $5.723 million. Also included is $669,000 for buildings; $304,000 for recreation, leisure and community facilities; and $1.276 million for information technology, furniture and equipment, and scheduled replacement of the council's fleet and machinery.
"We're looking at caravan park masterplans and streetscaping plans for all the townships. In Warracknabeal, we've got some funding to put roofs over certain sections of the Warracknabeal Livestock Exchange," he said.
"The fact that we can deliver a $26 million Budget and still be sustainable with the constraints we have means we're doing a pretty good job."
West Wimmera Shire Council plans to increase its rates by 3.5 per cent in 2019-20, which is 1.0 per cent higher than the rating cap.
Mayor Jodie Pretlove said council received an exception to go above the rate cap last year. She also said the rate rise meant council could put more money towards raises and capital works.
The council's draft Budget includes $6.59 million for road upgrades and renewals, plus $2.63 million for road maintenance.
Cr Pretlove said this year's budget would focus on roads.
"The area we've targeted the most in our budget is the road network. We've received both federal and state funding for roads and we will match that funding," she said.
"Our roads have depreciated in time and we want to bring that gap back through upgrades to our road network."
The draft Budget also includes $600,000 for a new library at Edenhope, $670,000 for aged care and $880,000 for children and family services.
Hindmarsh Shire Council's general rates will increase by 2.4 per cent. Residential rates will decrease by 1.03 per cent, while farm rates will increase by 3.76 per cent. Commercial, business and industrial rates will decease by 2.75 per cent.
Mayor Ron Ismay said the council's rates wouldn't "shift much at all".
"There may be a small increase for some people, but I think overall we've got our rating under control fairly well. I don't want to say farmers, but it's probably going to be in that area because some of their farm land has increased in value," he said.
Cr Ismay said the council had many projects that would be funded.
"We've had contractors start on the Dimboola Library. The state government gave us $600,000 and we've allocated $400,000 of our own money. Council has also allocated an extra $195,000 to the upgrade of facilities to house library services in both Jeparit and Rainbow," he said.
"The Wimmera River discovery trail is going to happen not far down the track, and that's $200,000 of our own money, plus $400,000 from the state government and $600,000 from the federal government.
Included in the council's draft Budget is $2.251 million for the reconstruction to the Rainbow-Nhill Road.
Ararat Rural City Council has proposed a general rate rise of 4.5 per cent. Industrial rates will rise by 5.64 per cent, commercial rates will rise by 2.79 per cent, and farm rates will rise 2.46 per cent.
This falls to an average rate rise of 2.5 per cent, which aligns with the rate cap.
Northern Grampians Shire Council has also raised its rates by an average of 2.5 per cent.
Residential rates will rise by 2.97 per cent, commercial rates will drop by 1.49 per cent, industrial rates will drop by 3.39 per cent, and farm rates will rise by 2.95 per cent.
How you can have your say:
- Horsham Rural City Council: The 2019-20 Draft Budget is available for public comment until 5pm, May 27. Make a written submission via firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to PO Box 511, Horsham Victoria 3402. More information here.
- Yarriambiack Shire Council: Submissions must be received at Yarriambiack Shire Council, 34 Lyle Street, Warracknabeal by June 19. More information here.
- West Wimmera Shire Council: Council will meet to adopt its Budget on June 20. Submissions are due by 5pm on June 14. Written submissions must be addressed to Mr David Leahy, Chief Executive Officer, PO Box 201, Edenhope, VIC, 3318, or emailed to email@example.com. More information here.
- Hindmarsh Shire Council: Submissions due by 5pm on June 19. Submissions should be addressed to the Chief Executive Officer, and posted to Hindmarsh Shire Council PO Box 250, Nhill VIC 3418, or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. More information here.
- Ararat Rural City Council: Submissions due by June 11. Written submissions can be sent to Ararat Rural City Council, PO Box 246, Ararat 3377. More information here.
- Northern Grampians Shire Council: Submissions due by June 20. More information here.
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