Corowa Shire's $40 million budget for 2016/17 includes $20 in capital expenditure and in the main a 7% increase in general rate revenue.
It is on public exhibition from Wednesday, May 11 until Monday, June 13. Some minor changes have been made to Corowa Shire Council's rating structure for 2016/17. While council last year obtained special approval for, and cannot raise any more than 7% in additional general rates revenue, its rating structure will affect rate categories differently.
"Some rate categories may experience no more than a six per cent increase in general rate charges while others may experience up to a nine per cent increase," council's Director Corporate and Community Services Kristy Kay said. "While the changes are minor, they will help to limit the burden on farmland, moderate the burden on high value foreshore properties, raise additional revenue from very low value properties such as residential properties located in rural villages and raise additional revenue from business (see chart in Corowa Shire Snippets). We feel these are steps in the right direction.
"Based on median house value, the general rate rise would mean an annual increase of about $30 to $36. Water access charges remain the same while water usage charge is to be reduced to $1.55 per Kl with the charge of $2.40 per Kl for usage over 450KL to remain. Introduction of the Automatic Metering System is expected to help reduce inflationary prices on water pricing with more accurate readings of water usage. No increase in the existing Residential Sewer Access Charge of $685 is proposed or the $548 fee for vacant land sewer charge. No increase is proposed for the Waste Facilities Levy despite council facing major future expenses such as rehabilitation of Corowa Tip and the potential establishment of a Corowa Transfer Station. Kerbside waste collection will increase from $250 to $260 a year.
"Given the long term inflationary pressures for waste management in general, it is pleasing to limit the increase for 2016/17 by $10," Ms Kay said. "A further $20 increase is currently projected for 2017/18 and 2018/19. "The reduced cost of fuel has helped keep pricing pressures down along with the use of an existing reserve from this fund.
"Kerbside waste charges were also reduced due to the removal of the carbon tax. Ratepayers who have a kerbside waste service will benefit from a refund of approximately $40 as part of the 2016/17 rates notice." While the NSW Government has prevented councils from applying for further special rate variations, Corowa council has an existing special rate variation approval through to 2017/18 and will reap an additional $359,687 from the shire's 6,603 rateable assessments for 2016/17.
At a special meeting last Wednesday, council unanimously, on the motion of Crs Gail Law and Fred Longmire, adopted its draft:
* Financial Plan 2016-2020
* 2016/17 Revenue Policy
* 2016-2020 Delivery Program and Operational Plan.