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    Cr Ian Ross.

Horsham council releases budget for comment

By Abby Walter

A farm differential on 2022-23 rates is set to decrease to 50 percent under a draft budget from Horsham Rural City Council.

At a council meeting on Monday, the council unanimously voted to approve the draft budget for the upcoming financial year and open it for community feedback.

The council also approved updates to its revenue and rating plan 2021-2024 and released it for feedback.

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Feedback on both documents is open until June 13 and the council will consider both for adoption at its June 27 meeting.

Cr Ian Ross moved the motion and said the budget was a sound document that laid out annual expenses for the council.

“With the differential being flexible for rural people this year, I think we will have a happier rural community, more so than last year,” he said.

“I do have a concern about our roads and maintenance budget and that is in relation to the budget for the re-sheeting of gravel.  The modelling shows we need to spend $1.1-million a year to maintain roads to be the same standard in 10 years.

“We increased the budget to $900,000 last year and this budget has the same amount again, but fuel has gone up by 20 to 30 percent and so has the cost of gravel, which effectively means we have reverted back to $600,000, which is a real concern.”

Rates have increased in the coming year by 3.49 percent and a municipal charge has been decreased from $240 to $200.

The farm differential has decreased from 59 percent to 50 percent after farm values rose by 41.5 percent.

The industrial differential has increased from 95 percent to 100 percent and the commercial differential has remained at 95 percent.  

The rate distribution will see a 2.23 percent increase for residential properties, a 2.44 percent increase for farm properties, a 0.35 percent increase for commercial properties and a 6.9 percent increase for industrial properties. 

The capital works program for the 2022-2023 year is budgeted at $21.30-million, which is $1.17-million more than 2021-2022. 

Cr Les Power said he encouraged ratepayers to have a look at the budget and provide their feedback to the council.

“We’ve seen fit to drop everybody’s municipal charge from $240 to $200. It doesn’t seem right that we can do that for everybody in our community to give them $40, yet we reduce our rates for part of the community by a further 10 percent,” he said.

“That worries me. I implore the people who are really concerned about their rates in this town, in Horsham itself, please read the budget and get back to us because without your acknowledgement of this budget it will go through.”

The 2022-23 Horsham Rural City Council budget is available on the council website.

The entire May 25, 2022 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire May 25, 2022 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!