While the Victorian Government has set a 1.5% rate rise as its rate cap for Councils next year, Mansfield Shire Council is proposing a 0% increase in its draft Budget 2021-22, which is now out for public feedback.
Mansfield Mayor, Cr Mark Holcombe said Councillors were mindful that, for many ratepayers, 2020 had been difficult financially and minimising the rate increase is one way Council can provide some economic relief.
“The community now has until 18 May to provide us with their feedback on the draft Budget,” Cr Holcombe said.
Cr Holcombe explained that a 0% rate rise (on the base average rate) does not mean that rates notices will be the same as last year.
“It means that Council will not earn any additional income from rates in 2021-22, except in relation to new properties such as from new subdivisions or new buildings on previously vacant land,” Cr Holcombe said.
“Rates notices are based on the property valuation and there have been significant shifts in property values. Across the categories, we have seen increases ranging from 3% to 23% on the previous year’s valuation. Once this is applied, it will affect individual rates notice,” he said.
Cr Holcombe said Council has been listening to the community and spent considerable time sifting through the previous budget, understanding Council’s services and cost structures and seeking to eliminate unnecessary spending wherever possible.
“The draft Budget supports our aim to deliver Council’s core roles well,” he said.
The key features of the Budget 2021-22 are:
Heavy Vehicle Bypass ($2.6m Council investment – funded through borrowings)
Investment in roads of $2.2m
Advocating for $1.5m to fund a new Heritage facility at the Station Precinct.
Drainage improvements ($0.7m)
Technology improvements to enable smart digital working practices, improved customer service and efficient service delivery ($130,000)
Streetscape improvements in lakeside townships ($100,000)
Outlying Communities Infrastructure Fund ($50,000)
Solar panels on Council buildings ($43,000)
“Through Council’s strategic planning, we acknowledge the responsibility to consider the future, as well as protect the land and lifestyle our community, businesses and industries enjoy. We have allocated $200,000 for strategic planning capability to progress planning scheme amendments and protect the amenity and land use within the Shire to support population growth,” he said.
Cr Holcombe said Council is really interested to hear the community’s thoughts on what is proposed in the draft Budget.
“We invite the community’s feedback. All aspects of the draft Budget are explained in more detail with Fact Sheets for individual topics available on our Engage portal. People can ask questions and join the online conversationor make written submissions until 5pm, 18 May 2021. On 25 May, a special committee of Council will then meet to hear from people who made submissions and asked to address their submissions in person.”
Council will then consider all feedback before presenting the final Budget 2021-22 at the June Council meeting.