The City of Launceston has approved its Annual Budget for the 2019/20 financial year.
The budget includes a rate increase of 2.8 per cent – the same increase as the previous year.
The increase is below Tasmania’s December CPI figure of 2.99 per cent, as well as the local government cost index of 3.38 per cent.
Mayor Albert van Zetten said he was pleased that the rate rise had been kept as low as possible.
“Finding that balance is always a challenge, but I believe this budget and rate rise of 2.8 per cent is responsible in terms of providing those necessary services and infrastructure projects that are required as the city continues to experience high levels of growth and development.”
Mayor van Zetten said that the Council is in a strong financial position and is budgeting for a comprehensive surplus of $3.8 million in 2019/20, with a $1.1 million underlying operating deficit.
“The reality is that Council has faced a number of operational challenges it is continuing to manage including a $1.36 million reduction in the TasWater dividend and combined stormwater/sewer costs together with increasing service costs, as well as an increase in waste disposal, recycling and processing costs of just under $1.4 million and we are continuing to adjust for those budget shocks,” Mayor van Zetten said.
“The increase in waste fees and kerbside collection costs is attributed to significant cost increases associated with changes in the way the recycling market now operates around Australia.”
That increase is reflected in a rise in waste charges.
A 140-litre bin in 2018/19 cost $105, while in 2019/20, it will cost $145.70.
The Council’s budget includes more than $25 million in capital works spending, including:
• $5.8 million in road upgrades (including $1.5 million for an upgrade at the Invermay-Lindsay Street intersection)
• $700,000 for parks and playground upgrades
• $350,000 for stage one of the QVMAG collection audit and digitisation
• $4.2 million for the resurfacing of University of Tasmania Stadium
• $1 million for upgrades to Churchill Park, and
$250,000 for an upgrade of the parenting room at the Paterson Street West car park.
Other key projects and strategies included in the budget are:
• A review of the Greater Launceston Plan
• Development of a Regional Recreation Strategy framework
• Complete and implement the Cultural Strategy
• Implementation of CBD Wayfinding
• St John Street redevelopment
• Planning for City Heart Stage 2
• Launceston Heritage List review
• Stage 2 implementation of My Place My Future
• Implementation of the River Health Action Plan
• Traffic Signal Project and the Launceston Transportation Strategy, and
• St Leonards Residential Masterplan