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Bendigo council announces 6 per cent rates rise

The City of Greater Bendigo’s proposed 2014-15 budget includes a rate rise of 6 per cent, although the municipal charge will be abolished.

BARBARA SUNGAILA June 5, 2014 3:20am

The City of Greater Bendigo’s proposed 2014-15 budget includes a rate rise of 6 per cent, in line with council’s 10-year financial plan to help pay for capital works and service delivery.

Rates payable on a home valued at $317,000, the Greater Bendigo average, with a small garbage bin will be $1441.35 or $27.72 a weekan increase of $1.70 a week.

The municipal charge, which last year was halved to $32.40, will be discontinued.

Mayor Barry Lyons said council continued to ensure its finances were well-managed and ratepayers’ money was spent where it was needed.

‘‘Rates represent 52 per cent of council’s revenue, with other sources including fees, user charges and government grants,’’ he said.

‘‘The proposed budget seeks to strike a balance between what is affordable and the need to provide services and infrastructure for our fast growing community.

‘‘Without revenue from rates we would be unable to deliver many of the capital works projects and services that our community is asking us for.’’

Organisation support director Marg Allan said while overall rate revenue would increase by six per cent, some ratepayers would pay more and others less.

‘‘To achieve our overall revenue target, we strike a rate in the dollar (0.3927 per cent in 2014-15),’’ she said.

‘‘When calculating individual rate notices we then multiply this rate in the dollar by the value of the property... This year is a revaluation year, so new property valuations undertaken in January will be used to calculate individual property rates for 2014-15.

‘‘Revaluations are influenced by the property market which means individual property valuations are not adjusted uniformly.

‘‘For example, properties in one suburb may increase more or less than those in another.

‘‘As a result of every revaluation there are ratepayers who will pay more than the overall rate rise and others who will pay less.’’

The council will apply a new schedule of fees and charges from July 1.

While not always popular, Cr Lyons said they were an important source of income for Greater Bendigo.

‘‘Each year council is tasked with having to strike a balance between what is affordable for our community and the need to raise enough revenue to fund services,’’ Cr Lyons said.

‘‘Without revenue from fees and user charges, the City of Greater Bendigo could not deliver the same high standard of services for our community.

‘‘The funds we raise are used to help offset the cost of providing services that are used by specific groups of people or not generally accessed by the entire community.’’

The annual revenue budgeted to be received from fees and charges in 2013-14 was $27,120,000 and in 2014-15 will be $27,675,000.

Significant areas include:

ParkingFees in central Bendigo remain the same at $1.40 an hour and $5.20 a day for zone 1, with 0.60 an hour and $2.60 a day for zone 2.

Waste servicesSignificant costs are incurred within the waste services sector including waste disposal, waste cartage, EPA landfill levy and rehabilitation costs.

Proposed increases to user fees for landfill are approximately 6.08 per cent on average, which takes into account CPI and increases to the EPA levy.

The cost of dumping a trailer load of domestic waste at the Heathcote landfill will rise from $31 to $33.

Childcare servicesIt is proposed to increase full-day child care for all children from $105 a day to $109 a day.

Occasional Care will rise from $11.50 an hour to $11.90 an hour.

Weekly childcare services for children under three years will rise from $415 to $430 and weekly childcare for children over three years from $405 to $420.

Sport and leisure facilitiesCosts will increase by an average of 2.9 per cent.

Adult swimming pool admission tickets will rise from $4.60 to $5 and an adult season ticket will rise from $92 to $95.

Seasonal hire for an A grade reserve will increase from $3427.28 to $3520.

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