Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Increase to Murray Shire general rates pegged at 2.3 per cent

Murray Shire’s 2014-15 Budget will be considered by councillors at a meeting tomorrow in Mathoura.

June 16, 2014 3:02am

Murray Shire’s 2014-15 Budget will be considered by councillors at a meeting tomorrowwith rate increases pegged at 2.3 per cent and plans for more than $7 million of capital works being some of the key parts of the Budget.

Shire general manager Margot Stork said the NSW Government has pegged the general rate increase for the 2014-15 financial year at 2.3 per cent, compared to 3.4 per cent in 2013-14.

She also said the capital works program, if adopted, was expected to be $7.6 million.

‘‘Of the funding required, $3.6 million will come from council operations, $1.3 million from external grants and contributions, $1 million from the sale of assets and $1.4 million from reserves.’’

Ms Stork said the Budget was influenced by external factors, including estimated wage growth of 3.25 per cent next year and decreasing interest rates with a cash rate of 2.5 per cent.

She said building repair works, recent damage to two timber bridges and the review of the Local Environment Plan had also had an impact on the Budget.

‘‘The development of the Budget is based on a number of principles, key of which are balancing the Budget, obtaining an operating surplus result and evaluating our operating result before capital income balance,’’ she said.

Ms Stork said the Federal Budget, which was handed down in May, has also impacted on Murray Shire Budget calculations.

‘‘That Budget included a proposed freeze on the indexation of the Financial Assistance Grant to local government for a period of three years,’’ she said.

‘‘The effect of that freeze is a decrease in Federal funding of approximately $100,000 in the 2014-15 Budget.’’

She said councillors would need to consider the funding loss as part of their Budget deliberations tomorrow.

Over a three-year period, the effect of the freeze would be a loss of income of about $420,000 for Murray Shire.

Mayor Tom Weyrich said the shire would, over coming months, lobby the Federal Government for a more equitable grant to council than that which will be received if the Federal Budget measures are adopted.

He said the freeze would have a significant impact on the shire’s ability to meet community needs and expectations.

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