Horsham Rural City approves budgetChart

Picture: FILEHORSHAM Rural City Council has adoptedits2016-17 budget that includesa 3.5 per cent rates rise and noextra discountfor farmers.
Nanjing Night Net

Councillors present on Monday night’s meeting, David Grimble, Tony Phelan, Robin Barber and Sue Exell, voted for the budget motion.

Victorian Farmers Federation vice president David Jochinkemade a submission on the draft budget thatcalledfor greater rates relief for farmers.

The submissionrequested an increase to the farm differential rate to compensate forchanges in property valuations for the farm sector that have created a“significant rate burden”.

Cr David Grimble chaired the meeting in the absence of Mayor Heather Phillips.

“Local government is unsustainable, we are moving toward a very unsustainable environment, Cr Grimble said.

“This council has a history of raising rates to keep abreast of maintenance.

“The issues raised by VFF are real concerns.”

Cr Grimble called forthe state and federal governments to provide more money to councils.

The draft budget was not amended to increase discount farmers receive from the differential rates scheme.

Councillor Tony Phelan said farmers were concerned about the affect of rates on their businesses, which are already under drought stress.

“It isto come up with a $45 million budget when 50 per cent comes from rates and 50 per cent from the government,” Cr Phelan said.

“The government side isoften unknown.”

Other changes in the final budget included$330,000 cut to a state grant for ApexIsland playground;almost $1 million cut from expected Roads to Recovery program; and a$296,000 boost to Children’s Hub project.

Councillor Robin Barber said property rates were atax on wealth.

“It’sa very difficult thing, unlesswe come up with a new system,” he said.

Cr Sue Exell said the Victorian government rates rise cap had kept residential costs down.

“Having a rates caphas been a lot of work butyou look at council to see whatyou can tighten,” she said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.


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