Council budget night – rates up 4%

DERWENT Valley Council rates have been increased by four per cent in the first council budget since the State Government took control of water and sewerage services previously provided by local government.

Addressing tonight’s budget meeting, mayor Tony Nicholson said municipal rates levied on “normal residential properties” would increase by $35, bringing the average rates bill to $830. Overall, rates will drop, as the cost of water and sewerage will be charged by the water corporation created under state treasurer Michael Aird’s reforms.

By way of comparison, Councillor Nicholson said this year’s average council rates bill would have been $1540 if water and sewerage were still included. But the news is not all good, as the State Government has already flagged that water bills will increase by 10 per cent every year for three years.

Reading from a budget overview that was circulated among councillors but not provided to the public at tonight’s meeting, Cr Nicholson commented on the council’s debt reduction strategy and said the council was now only $1.5 million in the red, compared with $4.5 million 10 years ago. He said this was a “credible performance” achieved through a lot of work by the general manager and accountant. Cr Barry Lathey later agreed that this was a “pretty good effort”.

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