Corangamite Shire residents will be hit with higher rates and charges but can look forward to a number of road and community projects after councillors approved the council’s 2018-19 budget on Tuesday.
Households in the shire will pay $63.50 more in garbage charges, or about $360 per property, in the next year. Rates will also rise by an average of 2.25 per cent, in line with state government rate capping.
Deputy mayor Neil Trotter said the council could not absorb the rising costs of garbage collection due to China’s ban on recyclables
“This is largely beyond our control,” he said.
Cr Simon Illingworth said the increased garbage charge was “at best an educated guess”.
“There has been some difficulty in deciding that amount… If we find ourselves having over-charged in this educated guess then we would be looking at potentially rebates for our ratepayers,” he said.
Mayor Jo Beard said despite tighter financial times, the budget showed the council was still able to deliver a variety of projects across its towns.
“We should be really proud of the fact that not only have we remained debt-free… but we’ve come up with a really fair and equitable amount of projects that really does give the diversity of Corangamite Shire a lot to look forward to,” she said.
The $48.1 million draft budget includes a $13.3 million capital works program, with more than half of that ($7.04 million) to be spent on roads.
There is a budget surplus of $2.6 million and a focus on community projects and facilities, including $160,000 on swimming pool upgrades, $140,000 on the Port Campbell playground, $70,000 for facility grants, $50,000 on supporting events and festivals and $50,000 to continue its facade improvement program.
Seven submissions were received on the draft budget focusing on three issues. Five submissions were against the plan to contribute $200,000 for a new toilet block at the Lakes and Craters Holiday Park in Camperdown. One submission called for increased waste collection in Lismore, which north ward Cr Lesley Brown said was being resolved. Another said the cost of waste disposal for residents outside the kerbside collection area was too high.
Cr Ruth Gstrein welcomed the spend on roads, including $1.2 million for stage three of the Castle Carey Road Bridge and $450,000 to roadside drainage and vegetation management on local roads.
“Across the board it is a very responsible budget, it’s certainly one that we’ve put a lot of thought to,” she said.
Cr Helen Durant said she was pleased the budget would maintain services at their current levels.