A SIX percent rate-rise is on the cards for Mid Murray ratepayers.
The Mid Murray Council released its Draft Annual Business Plan and Budget 2022-23and Draft Long-Term Financial Plan 2022-23 to 2031-32 for community consultation yesterday, May 12, 2022.
The plans detail plans to improved community facilities and services while detailing the financial implications for ratepayers.
According to the council, the break down of the proposed rate increase includes the three percent CPI increase in line with Federal Government projections,a 1pc increase to cover the associated cost increases from the current financial year due to the unexpectedly sharp CPI rise over the past year.
The council said a further 2pc was included in line with the Draft Long-Term Financial Plan 2022-23 - 2031-32to ensure the it remains financially sustainable, making an overall 6pct rate increase.
The total 6pc general average rate increase is equivalent to an overall average of an additional $84 per existing assessment for the year.
Mid Murray Mayor Dave Burgess said Council had carefully considered both the financial challenges facing its own operations and those of the Mid Murray community in setting the draft budget.
"In the past year alone we've seen significant cost of living increases - from the CPI of 1.5pc we initially budgeted for to over 5pc," he said.
"The cost of items like fuel and construction materials have risen dramatically.
"That, combined with reduced rate increases over recent years to support our community from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, has placed additional strain on council's sustainability and long-term financial planning.
Mayor Burgess said the council understood that households and businesses were facing increasing costs.
"Council can no longer carry that cost burden without increasing rates or cutting necessary services and infrastructure spending," he said.
"While we are aware of, and sympathetic to, our community's financial situation, we need to deliver responsible and sustainable financial management, as well as pursuing initiatives to facilitate a strong community.
"We will be looking at ways we can increase efficiencies and reduce costs without impacting on the delivery of essential services that our community relies on, and without jeopardising the capital investments we are making.
"We will also continue to offer relief options for ratepayers who are struggling under our Rates Hardship Policy and offer rates postponement for State Seniors Card holders on their principal place of residence."
Council listed priority projects in the in the Draft 2022-23 Annual Business Plan and Budget whichinclude:
- The sealing of Murrraylands Road from Morgan sealed end towards Blanchetown (8kms)
- Implementing Council's inaugural Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan
- Stage 3 construction of the Murray Coorong Trail and seeking new funding opportunities in partnership with neighbouring Councils for future stages
- Development of a Truro Township masterplan
- . Implementation of Regional Public Health plan priorities
- Implementing a One Number Customer Service system and e-communication to rate-payers to improve Council's customer experience and communication
- . Development of a Mid Murray Council Growth and Economic Development Strategy . Implementation of the Astro Tourism Strategy for the River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve
- Delivery of Mannum Waterfalls open space plan and Marine facilities Asset Management Plan . Partnering with stakeholders to develop a strategic plan for Ngaut Ngaut Conservation Park
- Completion of PS Canally restoration project and the Mannum Murray River Heritage Tourism project
- Delivery of priority stages of the Swan Reach Riverfront masterplan
"The Draft Annual Business Plan and Budget 2022-23 includes priority projects that will deliver improved facilities and services for our community, while also creating opportunities for our business and tourism sectors in their recovery period," Mayor Burgess said.
"Initiatives such as the development of a Truro Township Masterplan, a Mid Murray Growth Strategy and Economic Development Strategy will create plans to support economic growth and resilience for our district into the future.
"Despite the economic pressures in the year ahead, with careful planning and spending the future for Mid Murray looks bright."
The Mid Murray Council said any ratepayer experiencing financial challenges was encouraged to contact council to discuss support options that may assist, such as rate capping, postponement of rates for seniors, and assistance through the Rates Hardship Policy.
-Details: Public consultation on both the Draft Annual Business Plan and Budget 2022-23 and the Draft Long-Term Financial Plan 2022/23 - 2031/32 began on May 12, 2022 and closes at 12 noon on Thursday, June 2 2022. For information, or to have your say, visit: www.mid-murray.sa.gov.au.