Federation Council’s Interim General Manager Adrian Butler presented a 25-minute slideshow of council’s 2018/19 draft budget at Corowa RSL Club on Tuesday, June 5.
All the major projects throughout the Federation Council area to be undertaken following the $10 million sweetener from the NSW Government for the former Urana and Corowa Shires to amalgamate last year were shown by Mr Butler.
Just a handful of Corowa residents - other than council staff and councillors - attended the budget information session. No questions were asked of council.
It contrasted to the 11 Mulwala and district residents who attended the Mulwala session the previous week. The session lasted 90 minutes.
As in draft budget information sessions in years gone by at Mulwala, the question of rates was raised and received plenty of discussion at Mulwala.
After four years of special State Government approval for the former Corowa Shire to impose a rate increase higher than the state pegging rate, Federation Council is now in line with the state pegging, which will be 2.3% for 2018/19, for the whole council area.
At the Mulwala meeting, Federation Council’s director finance and organisation development Kim Parker advised that with the State Government rate capping of 2.3%, no change to the rating structure will occur for at least four years, until at least 2021/22.
“There are to be no special rate increases (ie beyond the rate capping) or re-arranging of rates to be applied before 2021/2022 and there’s a land valuation in that year,” he said.
Federation Council, is however, to embark on a rate review. “We’ll have to look at all services - what’s done ‘out the back’ compared to towns,” Mr Parker said. “Council’s committed to doing that review.”
Mr Parker said so much comes into what rates apply across all the categories, including access to what services. “It’s a tax,” he said.
It all starts with land valuations. For 2017/18, farm valuations soared in instances, for the first time in years and council, under the Administrator before the election of the first Federation Council last September, kept rate increases to 14%, about half of the increased land valuation increases.
Federation Council’s $75 million budget, which includes a $42 million capital works program, is on public exhibition from May 25 to June 22.
The final budget is to be adopted at council’s next monthly meeting, on June 26.
Council urges ratepayers and residents to peruse all the budget papers at a Federation Council office or agency or refer to https://www.federationcouncil.nsw.gov.au