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Council to Demonstrate Restraint on Budget

17 June 2013

At the Council meeting to be held on 20 June 2013, the Circular Head Council will be considering the adoption of the 2013/14 Annual Plan and Budget Estimates, which provides for general rate revenue increase of 1.95% in general rates.

Circular Head Mayor Daryl Quilliam acknowledged tight economic times had made it difficult for the region.

“As a result Council has been prepared to demonstrate restraint in balancing the level of service provided to the community, while keeping costs to a minimum,” Mayor Quilliam said.

“We are aware households are feeling the pinch so hopefully they respect the approach taken by Council, which includes a deficit of $109,000.”

General Manager Greg Winton said increasing costs were one of the reasons Council had entered into a resource sharing arrangement with the Waratah-Wynyard Council and a combined agreement with Burnie City Council.

“While it is difficult to put a dollar amount on the actual savings delivered through some parts of this initiative, all three Councils have benefited from reduced costs in insurance brokerage as one key example,” Mr Winton said.

“The recent signing of the Memorandum Of Agreement is a further demonstration of working towards further savings.”

Mr Winton said while the general rate increase was above CPI it was impossible to compare this to the true cost of providing council services.

“CPI is merely a measure of the average change over time paid by households for a fixed basket of goods and services, whereas a greater proportion of Council services are geared towards infrastructure, social and community services,” Mr Winton said.

“Therefore a more accurate picture of these costs is indicated by the Local Government Association of Tasmania’s Council Cost Index, which has been calculated at 3.05%. for the 2013/14 financial year.”

With this in mind, Mr Winton said costs had also slightly increased in the wheelie bin, waste utility and recycling charges.

The rural collection of waste (fortnightly) increase is from $82 to $85, urban collection (weekly) increase is from $122.50 to $127, the waste utility increases from $57.50 to $61 and recycling from $52.50 to $55.

“It must be remembered that the waste utility charge is largely offset by the provision of tickets to utilise the White Hills Waste Transfer Station free of charge,” Mr Winton said.

“The cost of waste management should be viewed as a shared responsibility by all ratepayers.”

Mr Winton said residents may also note a decrease or increase in their rate as a result of recent revaluations in Circular Head by the State Valuer-General.

“Primary producers will note a general rate decrease depending on valuation, while urban properties may notice a general rate increase,” Mr Winton said.

“While the valuation of property is out of Council’s control, it is significant to note that primary production makes up a much larger percentage of Council’s total valuation base.”

Key initiatives in the 2013/14 Annual Plan and Budget Estimates include:

  • General rate increase of 1.95%
  • $720,000 for the rehabilitation of King St
  • $420,000 to replace bridge on Dip Falls Rd, Dip River
  • $535,000 for resealing of various urban and rural roads
  • $65,000 for detailed road survey on Harcus River Rd
  • $8,500 for Development plans: Forest Streetscape, Dip Falls Reserve and Smithton Streetscape
  • $27,500 for Tier Hill Scenic Lookout detailed design and geotechnical investigation
  • $15,000 for solar lighting around exercise equipment on Smithton Walking Tracks
  • $10,000 for asbestos pilot trial at White Hills Transfer Station
  • $30,000 for kerbside waste collection bar code system implementation

General Manager Greg Winton said Council would continue to offer a 4% discount to those who choose to pay their rates by 30 August 2013. Alternatively payments can be made in three instalments on 30 August 2013, 29 November 2013 and 28 February 2014.