Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Campaspe Shire Budget debate

Concern municipal charge rise happening too fast for low income earners.

May 21, 2014 3:45am

Campaspe Shire Councillor Emma Bradbury



Concern has been raised about the effect a proposed $100 municipal charge increase will have after it was announced in Campaspe Shire’s 2014-15 draft budget last week.

As part of the six per cent rate increase, the municipal charge for the shire will increase from $50 to $150 per rating assesment from next year.

The draft budget was passed five votes to four, with the rate increase and it’s municipal charge rise defining factors.

Councillor Emma Bradbury said she voted against the budget because she could not support the rate increase and it’s high municipal charge rise.

‘‘My concern is that this budget is bad because it has delivered a six per cent rate increase when one of the undertakings this council identified during last year’s budget planning sessions was an awareness of the concerns the community has raised in relation to the constant high rate increases. Affordability pressures essentially,’’ she said.

‘‘As the mayor said, we were aware that affordability pressures are something the community is quite concerned about and also that there was the capacity to have balanced this budget at five per cent, but that decision wasn’t taken, it was opted to go to six per cent to make an additional contribution to the asset renewal fund.’’

Cr Bradbury said that while she supported a steady increase, too big of a leap each year could create problems.

‘‘Getting the balance for that right is really, really important. If you swing too far one way, you wind up with a situation where people who are really improving their properties get penalised for it and pay way too much for the privilege of them investing in their community,’’ she said.

‘‘Then if you swing it back too far the other way, it means the people who can least afford it, those properties that have the least capacity to improve, those properties are paying a particularily high municipal charge, so that becomes quite a burden or an impost on low-income earners.’’

‘‘The reality is an increase in the municipal charge up to quite a significantly high level, higher than what is proposed in this budget, is inherently fair. However, to actually increase it such a signficant amount in one hit is unfair to people who are less able to afford it.’’

You can read more in the print edition of the Kyabram Free Press.’’

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