2022-2023 Council Budget adopted

More than $21.29 million of capital works will proceed during the next 12 months following the adoption of the 2022/2023 Horsham Rural City Council Budget at Monday’s June Meeting.

These works are funded from $8.75 million of external specific purpose grants, $6.28 million from general revenues, $4.81 million from cash reserves, $1.0 million from external loans and the balance from asset sales and contributions.

“This is the first budget prepared under the guidance and influence of the new Council Plan adopted in October 2021 following the development of the Horsham 2041 Community Vision. Council has developed a separate Annual Action Plan this year based on the Council Plan, which has already been provided to the community for comment and feedback. The priorities and initiatives in this year’s budget flow from the directions set in the Annual Action Plan,” Mayor Robyn Gulline said.

Cr Gulline said a key budget highlight is the 5.2% overall increase in spending on Rural Roads and Infrastructure, which is well above the rate cap of 1.75% and adds to the large 27% increase seen last year.

“Council continues to recognise the importance of maintaining and upgrading rural roads through a budgeted spend of $7.683 million in 22/23,” she said.

Key projects include upgrades and refurbishments to public conveniences, commencement of works on the upgrade of sports and events facilities at Horsham City Oval, renewal and upgrade of footpaths in Horsham North and throughout the municipality, significant roads and drainage works at Council’s three industrial estates and completion of the renewal of the Heritage Hall floor at the Town Hall.

Rates have been increased overall by the 1.75 per cent ministerial rate cap with the farm differential rate reduced from 59 per cent to 50 per cent. Property values increased rapidly in the past twelve months, reflecting the national trend, with farm values increasing by 41.5% and residential values increasing by 24.5%. The change to the differential reflects the far greater rise of farm valuations when compared to the value of all properties across the municipality.

A significant change will occur during 2022-23 in relation to Council’s waste collection services. This change has been brought about by Council’s need to comply with the State Government’s 4 bin collection policy. Changes will see residential households issued with three large 240 litre bins, one for general waste, one for green waste and one for other recyclable materials plus one small 120 litre bin for glass only. These will then be collected on a fortnightly rotating basis, with glass collected each four weeks. This change to commence in April 2023, together with a $788,000 increase in the State Government EPA charge, will see an increase in waste charges for 2022/23.

Also adopted at the June 2022 Council Meeting was the revised 10 year Financial Plan and the updated Revenue and Rating Plan 2021-2024, which provides in-depth details regarding Council’s revenue sources and how rates and charges are calculated.

Council has also continued to reduce the Municipal Charge further from $240 to $200 in line with the recommendations from the 2018-19 Rate Review

“Council thanks the community for their input into the Annual Action Plan and 2022/2023 Budget process and looks forward to working together to implement the extensive projects and services outlined in the budget document,” Cr Gulline said.

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