A$2 million grant from the Federal Government has ensure Wherrett Park Sports Centre in this year's Council Budget.
A$2 million grant from the Federal Government has ensure Wherrett Park Sports Centre in this year's Council Budget. The Daily Examiner

Rates up by 3.5 per cent

FOR months now, Clarence Valley Council has been preparing us for a tight Budget - now it's here.

Council has now released its 2009/2010 Budget and Management Plan and, from this Friday, will seek public submissions.

The world economic crisis is reaching right into the Valley and is reflected in council's forecast of a $450,000 budget deficit.

There will be a general rate increase of 3.5 per cent; however council will reallocate part of that burden from the Grafton area to other areas of the Valley because of Grafton's higher rate structure.

Water charges will increase by 6.5 per cent; sewerage rates will increase by 8.9 per cent; and the domestic waste charge will increase by $10 per year.

Council's waste management levy will increase from $4 to $25. This is a result of an unpopular new tax the NSW Government has imposed which taxes councils for using its own landfill sites.

This new State Government tax will continue to increase for at least the next six years and will net the Reese Government $2.1 million from Valley residents alone without guaranteeing anything in return.

Clarence Valley Council Mayor Richie Williamson said the budget provided for total expenditure of about $181 million.

He said despite the international financial position being 'pretty awful' Valley residents still expected council to maintain works and services at similar levels.

Council's general manager Stuart McPherson said although the crisis had negatively impacted council's budget, it had brought some 'positive consequences'.

He said the Federal Government's fiscal stimulus package had provided $1.4 million for local projects.

Some of council's projects that will still be going ahead include the new Wherrett Park sports facility (thanks to a $2 million Federal grant); and the re-building of the administration buildings at Grafton Aquatic Centre that were destroyed just before Christmas.

Council will also be installing solar power at South Grafton and Maclean swimming pools and installing water-efficient cisterns in all valley public amenities.

Five-hundred thousand dollars will also be spent on building on-ground boating infrastructure between Yamba and Grafton.

A full list of projects can be viewed in the management plan which will be placed on public exhibition until June 5.

BUDGET FACTS
  •  A budget deficit of $450,000.
  •  Water and waste charges to rise.
  •  Many big ticket projects still going ahead.
  •  General rate increase of 3.5% .
  •  Waste Management levy up by $21.
  •  Sewerage rates up 8.9%


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