Last Wednesday at a special meeting of Hindmarsh Shire Council, shire councillors approved the annual budget, with only a minor amendment.
In the budget for the forthcoming financial year, council approved a rate increase of 2.25 percent across the board, in line with the ‘Fair Go Rates’ system set by the Essential Services Commission.
Unlike Horsham Rural City Council, Hindmarsh Council set a rate differential on categories that disadvantaged farmers, some who had claimed their rates increased by 12 percent due to property valuation increases. Yarriambiack made last minute changes to their rate charges in light of strong lobbying by the Victorian Farmers Federation.
A large contingent of farmers attended both the Horsham and Yarriambiack budget meetings. Hindmarsh Shire did not attract any farmers to their meeting.
There was only one submission to council regarding the budget, from a Jeparit resident, who made recommendation to improving the living viability of Jeparit.
Those changes to the 2018/19 budget were altered to:
- Include $50,000 upgrade works to High Street, Dimboola service lane.
- Reallocate the $10,000 budget for the Nhill Aerodrome Masterplan to Jeparit Riverbank Precinct minor works.
- Authorise the CEO to undertake any further consequential and administrative changes as required.
Cr Tony Schneider moved that the budget be accepted with the amendments and was seconded by Cr Rob Gersch.
Cr Schneider said, “I think this is a good budget and in comparison with other councils, we did not get a submission from the VFF. This must be an endorsement that we are ‘doing it right’.”
Cr Gersch said, “I am not sure if the community is complacent with council, but to only receiving one submission can mean that the community is happy with the budget. I commend the work of the senior staff who did an excellent job of putting the budget together.”
The budget will also see an increase in kerbside garbage collection of $21 and there will be a general waste charge of $9, introduced to help cover the increased cost of waste management.
Council also approved a council plan 2017 -2021 annual review and the strategic resource plan 2019 to 2022. Moved by Cr Rob Gersch and seconded by Cr Ron Lowe.
The changes to the plan included $50,000 upgrade works to a High Street, Dimboola service lane and a reallocation of the $10,000 budget for the Nhill Aerodrome Masterplan to Jeparit Riverbank Precinct Minor Works.
There were no public submissions in relation to the strategic resource plan for 2019 to 2022.