THE Surf Coast Shire has kept a wary eye on future funding in its draft 2015-16 budget, which was released for public comment last week.
The council has raised rates by 5.5 per cent (including the municipal charge) – higher than the 4.75 per cent increase in the previous charged in 2013-14.
Surf Coast mayor Margot Smith said the increase partially but not totally covered the three-year freeze in federal government grant funding, which would result in a $255,000 shortfall each year.
She said there was also uncertainty about a number of state and federal grant programs.
the state government’s proposal to cap rates at the consumer price index from July 1, 2016 was not factored into the budget, but the policy was concerning.
“If rates were two per cent less, it’s not just that year, we would lose $720,000 a year forever; so it accumulates very quickly and becomes a.The budget includes $18.2 million in capital works spending (up $2.4 million on 2014-15).
There is $8.2 million to fund 45 new projects and facility upgrades, such as $1.4 million for a second oval in Torquay North and $1.46 million for the next stage of the Anglesea existing roads and facilities, including $1.4 million on resealing local roads; and more than $1 million in new community projects and initiatives.
The Surf Coast Shire will also spend the next six months consulting with the community as part of a review of the council’s long-term projects.
Cr Smith said this did not mean the council was backing away from its $28 million plan to build an aquatic centre in Torquay, but was community about how funds should be raised and used.
There will be community sessions about the budget held in Lorne, Torquay, Anglesea and week.
To read the draft budget, make a submission head to surfcoast.vic.gov.au.
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