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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Bega: Councillors agree to Special Rate Variation and adopt Annual Budget 2023-24

Councillors have adopted a suite of planning documents at today’s Council meeting, which includes the permanent Special Rate Variation (SRV) of 24% inclusive of the 4.1% rate peg for the 2023-24 financial year and 19.6% inclusive of an assumed 2.5% rate peg for the 2024-25 financial year.

The planning documents include the Delivery Program and Operational Plan, the 2023-24 budget and revenue policy, the Long-Term Financial Plan 2023-32, the Strategic Asset Management Plan 2022-25 and Fees and Charges for 2023-24.

Bega Valley Shire Mayor, Russell Fitzpatrick said the SRV will take effect from 1 July 2023 for all rateable properties in the shire.

“Today’s decision is a difficult, yet financially responsible decision,” Cr Fitzpatrick said.

“We simply don’t have the funds needed to continue maintaining the $1.7 billion of assets we are responsible for, with $1.11 billion of those assets relating to the general fund or continue to provide the vast range of services the community relies on.

“Our current financial position comes from rising costs, insufficient and capped government funding and Council taking on greater responsibilities over time often without choice.

“We have a responsibility to our community and future generations to remain financially viable.

“We know any increase in rates is difficult to contemplate for many in our community, but we need to take steps to reduce the ever-expanding gap between our income and expenses.

“Ratepayers are encouraged to assess the impact of the SRV on their respective properties by using the SRV calculator available on the Council's website.”

Cr Fitzpatrick said the additional revenue into our general fund means that Council can continue to focus on maintenance and renewal of our road network, improved water, sewer and waste services in collaboration with funding agencies and all levels of government, and advocate for government investment in community infrastructure to reduce future financial burden.

“We will also continue to actively work on processing DA’s to support development, completing grant-funded projects and are committed to further reviewing asset and service priorities in future years to ensure future financial sustainability,” Cr Fitzpatrick said.

“We realise that cost of living pressures are significant at the moment and want to remind our ratepayers that we offer various hardship options and a concession program for pensioners.”


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