Council would be irresponsible to deter tough financial decisions and not move forward with the 2014/2015 budget, according to Moira Shire Mayor Peter Mansfield.June 24, 2014 4:25pm
Cr Mansfield, in summarising the budget, told a packed public gallery on Monday night the budget, with 5.5% general rates increase, was about “putting our house in order which will benefit all ratepayers and residents”.
“We recognise the increases will be a burden for some in our community,” he said.
“They come at the same time as other tiers of government are also tightening funding for programs and services – including those delivered by council.
“Like those other levels of government we also require the community to share the burden.”
Cr Mansfield said the budget also included four constraints on council costs moving forward.
“It caps staff numbers, caps increases in operating costs, does not include further borrowings and is built on a conservative estimate of the grant funding from state and federal governments,” he said.
“Combined, these will improve our financial position that has steadily deteriorated over recent years as a result of rising costs and a succession of natural disasters.”
Cr Mansfield said the budget took a cautious approach to capital works (capital expenditure $10.72 million) because “40% of our current annual budget is consumed by depreciation and costs of maintain our existing roads, buildings and facilities”.
Over the next year, according to Cr Mansfield, Moira Shire Council intends to work with local communities to identify smarter options for delivering services which may involve replacing aging and increasingly expensive buildings and assets with multipurpose facilities.
“This is not an easy budget but it will benefit all residents and ratepayers by ensuring council is in a stronger financial position to cope with future reductions in grant funding and support community projects from our own resources.”
Today’s guest opinion column comes from former Shepparton resident and Notre Dame College alumni Joshua Nappa, who now studies economics and finance at RMIT in Melbourne. Joshua has written about the potential he sees in Shepparton reduce unemployment and help our retail sector.
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