DERWENT Valley Council rates will rise by more than 18% over the next two years following the budget meeting at New Norfolk tonight. The meeting approved budget estimates for the next two financial years, with a 9% increase each year.
Storm and flood damage and ongoing costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic were reported as the cause of the council’s poor financial position. Mayor Michelle Dracoulis and general manager Dean Griggs said six years of 9% rate rises were needed to balance the council’s books but this was not sustainable and the council would instead investigate all opportunities for savings.
Councillor Phillip Bingley was one of three who voted against the budget, saying he was very disappointed by the management recommendation for dual 9%. “Obviously, rate increases in the order of 18 per cent over a two-year period are not sustainable for the ratepayers of the Derwent Valley who at this very moment are facing serious cost-of-living increases,” he said.
Deputy mayor Jessica Cosgrove said it was not acceptable to blame management for the situation the council found itself in. “It’s been pointed out that we’ve had a series of events beyond our control,” Cr Cosgrove said. “I feel that if were not to support this budget tonight, it would not be in the best interests of our community.
The council’s waste management charge will increase to $95 per property, the price of household rubbish and recycling collection will go up 9%, and the council will also collect a $23.89 Statewide Landfill Levy on behalf of the State Government (this figure was incorrectly stated as $95 by the Derwent Valley Gazette).
Those who voted for the council budget were Councillors Dracoulis, Cosgrove, Graham, Triffitt and Woods. Opposing it were Councillors Bingley, Browning and Hill.
Read more in next week’s print edition of New Norfolk and Derwent Valley News – the only media in the room at the budget meeting tonight.
Picture: The scene at the Derwent Valley Council budget meeting tonight.