Council has prepared a draft budget for next financial year, for the purposes of seeking input from you. Your opinions matter. We need to hear from you.
The annual business plan and the budget can be viewed on the Council website from tomorrow. Your opinions matter so likewise information about how you can contribute to the final budget. Look out also for my next blog post highlighting some of the initiatives in the Annual Business Plan.
This has been as challenging a budget as we have dealt with in my time as a member of Council. The Covid-19 Pandemic and the restrictions placed on the community by the two other levels of Government are impacting us all. Impacting in conflicting ways.
We find that many of us have reduced incomes and therefore a reduced capacity to pay your rates. This includes workers and the business owners for whom they work. Those same people will need help in providing the opportunity for their jobs and their businesses to return to work.
The challenge for Council has been to balance directly competing needs. The first is to keep rates as low as possible for those of us who may be struggling financially. The second, but contradictory challenge, is to ensure this budget can assist with stimulating the local economy once restrictions are lifted.
The highlight therefore of this budget is it features a zero rate rise. But it does not hold back on providing the services we provide and the programs we have planned.
A zero rate rise, obviously designed to minimise the impact on your hip pocket. From your viewpoint, this is effectively a reduction in rates. This is because inflation is running at around 2% and we have not allowed for inflation in this budget.
This will be achieved by lowering the surplus from around 5% to 3%. The surplus is what we use to pay down debt. Our complimentary 10 year financial plan suggests we can reverse this over time.
For a deeper understanding of the Business Plan and the Budget watch out for my next blog post. Please take the opportunity to check it out and let us know what you think. Your opinions matter.