Mid Murray Council predicts 10 years of rate rises

Photo: File.
Photo: File.

Mid Murray residents will endure a 3.6 per cent property rate rise in 2019-20, in addition to any increase in property values.

The higher rate equates to an extra $52 per household, per year.

Mayor Dave Burgess described the rate rise as "conservative", and promised the council would review its services to make sure they were being delivered as efficiently as possible.

The district's council will use the extra funds on new visitor attractions and improved community facilities, according to the draft annual business plan and budget published last week.

Mayor Dave Burgess said projects such as the Murray-Coorong Trail, Swan Reach deep water mooring facility and River Murray Dark Sky Reserve had the potential to deliver "significant returns" to the district.

"Tourism is a vital industry across our region," he said.

"The development of these projects will add substantially to the Mid Murray's reputation as a premier destination."

Other works will include bank remediation, introduction of one-way traffic, parking and landscaping at Mannum's Mary Ann Reserve; the start of 10 years' work restoring the Mannum Institute; and a new roof for the Mannum council office.

An upgrade of the Truro to Eudunda road, including a new bridge, will be among the biggest projects on the council's books, at $3.2 million.

In total, the council will spend $25.3 million and record a $5.5 million operating deficit for the financial year.

By next June it will have net financial liabilities of more than $21 million.

Long term financial plan

The council has also published a draft long-term financial plan, its proposed pathway to financial sustainability over the next decade.

The plan assumes continued rate increases of 3.6pc per year.

Chief executive officer Ben Scales said the council planned to improve its bottom line each year and reach a surplus by 2028.

"We believe this is possible without sacrificing essential services or infrastructure," he said.