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Rate rise of 6 per cent

Ratepayers in Campaspe Shire may have to wear a 6 per cent rate rise which includes a $100 increase in municipal charges following the adoption of Campaspe Shire’s 2014-15 Budget next month.

RENEE THOMPSON May 14, 2014 10:59am

Rates are set to go up 6 per cent for Campaspe Shire ratepayers

Ratepayers in Campaspe Shire may have to wear a 6 per cent rate rise following the adoption of Campaspe Shire’s 2014-15 Budget next month.
The $73 million draft Budget was carried five votes to four at yesterday’s special Campaspe Shire Council meeting in Echuca.
It aims to see almost $24 million delivered across 90 projects shire-wide to build and renew roads, drains, parks, playgrounds, leisure facilities, community buildings and other pieces of infrastructure.
It includes an increase in the municipal charge, which will rise from $50 to $150 per rating assessment from next year.
Campape Shire councillors Neil Pankhurst, Leigh Wilson, Paul Jarman, Carol Howell and mayor Ian Maddison voted for the adoption of the Budget, with councillors Emma Bradbury, Greg Toll, Rocchina D’Angelo and Adrian Weston voting against.
Campaspe Shire chief executive Keith Ballie said 1 per cent of the 6 per cent rise would address a backlog of asset renewal items — shire assets such as roads, libraries and pools which have reached an intervention level requiring funding.
‘‘The Budget would have been balanced at 5 per cent, but the independent financial assessment highlighted the large asset renewal backlog required in the future,’’ he said.
He said this year was the first time council had modelled out a 10-year plan to address the backlog.
Mr Baillie said council had kept the costs of existing operations manageable — up by only 2.2 per cent this year. 
‘‘If we hadn’t done that, council would not have been in position to address the backlog,’’ he said.
Mayor Ian Maddison said he stood by comments he made in June last year about lowering rates being a priority for this year’s Budget.
‘‘I don’t back away at all from that statement,’’ he said.
He said an independent financial assessment had removed any uncertainty about the need for rate rises.
He said the Budget acknowledged that failing to follow the recommendations of the assessment would limit what levels of services council could continue to provide.
Cr Pankhurst spoke in favour of the Budget.
He said part of the forecast increases could be directly attributed to decisions councillors and the executive had made in finding $521,000 of net savings and in addressing issues such as the asset renewal gap.
Cr Pankhurst acknowledged there would be ‘‘lots of discussion in the community about a 6 per cent rate increase’’.
More on this story in today's Riv. 
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