Hindmarsh Shire Budget relying on rate cap increase
Hindmarsh Shire Council adopted its 2017/18 budget last week, which will rely on the successful approval by government to increase the rate cap to four percent.
Council has proposed a higher rate increase of four percent for the 2017/18 financial year, two percent above the average rate cap set by the Minister for Local Government in December 2016.
The budget is based heavily on the higher rate increase of four percent. The two percent increase above the average allowed rate increase will provide additional income of approximately $144,000 in Council’s 2017/18 Annual Budget. If unsuccessful in council’s application, the budget will need to be adjusted to meet the lower income.
The council will raise revenue of $17.4m, 47 percent of which will come to Hindmarsh Shire Council from rates and charges and 35 percent from state and federal government funding and the remainder from fees and charges.
Council has outlined some key initiatives in the forthcoming budget
- Development of a new Dimboola community, civic and business hub. Council has obtained funding from the state government’s “Living Libraries” program and we have applied for additional funding from the federal government to construct the hub. The project is estimated at $1.6m.
- Construction of new skate parks at Dimboola and Rainbow, supported by state government funding of $100,000 for each park.
After significant tourism development initiatives in the previous financial years, in 2017/18 council has allocated $10,250 towards the purchase of bicycles for the Riverside Holiday Park in Dimboola.
Council has allocated $6,500 to support the inaugural Rainbow Desert Enduro in August 2017.
This is the second year that Council will be providing Business Assistance grants. The Business Assistance grants aim to support local businesses expanding their operations or new businesses, large and small, to establish in the Shire. It will provide assistance to offset costs associated with expanding or establishing a business in Hindmarsh Shire. $20,000 has been included in the 2017/18 budget for this project.
Council has allocated $50,000 in recurrent and $100,000 in capital as seed funding for grant opportunities arising from the Economic Development Strategy and $50,000 in capital as seed funding for opportunities arising from the Precinct Plans and Recreation Strategy.
Council will provide $7,500 to each of the Shire’s four town committees. This funding can be used as seed funding for grants that will fund works important to the community in each town.
This is the third year council has provided this funding to the town committees.
Council created a Youth Council in 2015 and funding of $10,000 in the 2017/18 budget will allow this successful initiative to continue.
Council will provide $30,000 to its Community Action Grants which will enable community groups to apply for funding for events, minor facility upgrades,small equipment and community assistance.
Albacutya Bridge: Nearing 100 years of age, Albacutya Bridge is due for replacement, the cost of which is estimated at $3,300,000. The project has a three year timeframe and council commenced a sinking fund to accumulate cash over these three years to cover its contribution to the project. In the 2016/17 budget council allocated $500,000 to this fund, a further $325,000 have been allocated in the 2017/18 budget. Council will continue to seek state and federal government funding towards the project.
Local Roads: Lorquon East Road: Council has allocated $727,397 to undertake two further reconstruction projects on the Lorquon East Rd. Council has been progressively working on this road, with reconstruction and widening works, to fulfil its long term goal of a major east west transport link through the centre of the Shire.
Construction of sealed pavements: Council has budgeted for a further two major reconstruction projects – Langford Street, Nhill and Netherby Baker Road, Netherby. These projects carry a total cost of almost $290,000.
Two large unsealed road resheet projects, Yanac South Road, Broughton: and Halls Road, Nhill: will total more than $260,000.
Sealed pavement shoulder resheet: In 2017/18 Council will be undertaking sealed pavement shoulder resheets on Woorak Ni Ni Lorquon Road, Winiam East Road and Winiam Road.
Council will be undertaking 13 reseal projects in 2017/18, totalling more than half a million dollars. These projects include Albacutya Road, Kinimakatka Road, MacPherson Street, Netherby Baker Road, Nhill Murrayville Road, Park Street, Rainbow, Tarranyurk East Road, Winiam East Road, Rainbow/Nhill Road, Sands Avenue/John Street, Jeparit, Anna Street, Dimboola, Arkona-Katyil Road, and Gray, King and Queen Streets, Rainbow.
Farmer consultation projects:
Council will include the unsealed pavement resheet of Hazeldene Road, Jeparit (Rural) as one of the projects advocated for by farmers during a series of farmer consultations.
Council will incur a cash deficit of $2.11 million for the financial year, which will leave cash reserves at year-end of $2.40m. The large deficit is due to the early payment of the Victorian Grants Commission in June 2017. Council will remain debt free and will maintain cash reserves in excess of $2m, which is the minimum cash Council believes it needs to hold to meet its normal cash operating cycle and retain a buffer.
Hindmarsh Mayor Cr Debra Nelson said, “we commend the 2017/18 budget to the Hindmarsh community and look forward to implementing its many programs and initiatives.”