Reduction in forecast rates considered

Augusta Margaret River Shire Council will shave 0.5 percent off projected rate increases after an amended Long Term Financial Plan was presented at their Ordinary Meeting on Wednesday 9 April.

The plan, which was reconsidered as part of an annual review process, forecasts a 4 percent annual rate increases over the next ten years to 2024 instead of the 4.5 percent as previously adopted.

Shire of Augusta Margaret River Acting Chief Executive Officer Annie Riordan said community pressure instigated a review of rates increases and operational expenditure.

“Rates projections in the Long Term Financial Plan give a good indication as to what operating revenue Council will have available over the next ten years.

“Councillors are still required to adopt rates at a separate meeting, but this Plan sets the framework for annual operating budgets and facilitates long term future planning.”

Ms Riordan said determining future operating income and expenditure was a lengthy and involved process in which councillors have already participated.
“Councillors have already been involved in reviewing the key assumptions of the plan including level of property growth, rating, infrastructure asset and renewal requirements and major projects,” she said.

To accommodate the proposed lower rate of increase, operating expenditure forecast for 2014/15 has been reduced by $500,000 in once-off projects, contract services and discretionary items.

Ms Riordan advised during 2013–14, 51 properties have been created which represents a growth rate of 0.57 percent.

The Long Term Financial Plan covers the ten-year period from 2014–2024 and has the objective of achieving a balanced position in each year of the plan.