Local councils have unsurprisingly adopted the 2016-17 budgets that have been exempted from the 2.5 per cent rate cap increase limit.
The Essential Services Commission’s approval of exemptions from the the 2.5 per cent increase to Pyrenees and Moorabool budgets means the respective councils will have more money to spend on key infrastructure programs.
The decision means Pyrenees Shire Council will have almost $97,000 extra to spend on its sealed road maintenance program under a 3.8 per cent increase – as opposed to a 2.5 per cent limitation.
It may not a huge amount, but still extremely important, given there is around 2000 kilometres of road network in the shire.
Council’s 2016-17 budget allocates $7.1 million for capital works, including $463,000 to continue key safety improvements to the Raglan-Elmhurst Road.
The capital works program also includes $329,000 for the Moonambel-Natte Yallock Road, $247,000 for Trawalla Road, $377,000 for Modesty Lane and $369,000 for the Darlington-Carranballac Road.
Meanwhile, Moorabool Shire Council’s approval for a 3.5 per cent rate increase will allow it to spend $400,000 on its new and upgrade program.
Around $325,000 has been proposed for a new footpath in the densely populated Maddingley, a suburb of Bacchus Marsh.
Meanwhile, Golden Plains Shire Council, which did not seek an exemption to the rate cap, has adopted its 2016-17 budget.
The budget includes $12.1 million to support and develop council’s recreation and community groups, $8.3 million to support children, aged, disability and child health services and $16.5 million for road maintenance and infrastructure.
Despite concerns that limiting the rate cap increase could impair rural councils in the long-term, Golden Plains Shire mayor Des Phelan said there was no need to seek an exemption for the 2016-17 period.
“While we did not make any changes, this is because council believes the Budget was well balanced and appropriate for the current situation,” he said.
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