A two percent rate increase and a “record” more than $15 million capital works program, one of the largest in the shire’s history, have been included in the proposed 2020-21 budget for the Central Goldfields Shire.
Administrators moved to place the proposed budget on public display at this week’s ordinary council meeting, after delaying the budget’s preparation and release to allow the impacts of COVID-19 to be included.
The proposed budget outlines a rate increase of two percent in line with the State Government’s Fair Go Rates System rate cap as well as a 6.5 percent increase to council’s waste charges due to increasing costs.
A $15.9 million capital works program is also outlined in the proposed budget — marking a $6 million increase on last year’s — as well as $3 million in projects carried forward from the previous budget.
The report tabled to council states this increase is due to an estimated $9.5 million in external grant funding, with $7.6 million confirmed and a further $1.9 million pending. Speaking to the report, Central Goldfields Shire chief administrator Noel Harvey said increasing rates was not an easy decision to make.
“That’s not an easy decision we had to make, there of course have been calls for us to freeze rate increases and that is something that we did consider as I know many councils have,” he said.
“I want to make it clear that we do understand there are many people in our community who are doing it really tough but there are also many in our community who are not.
“A rate freeze that has been suggested by some would really provide a free pass to large corporations in our shire and I don’t think too many people would say we should be freezing the rates of those corporations.”
For more on this story see the Front Page of The Advertiser, Tuesday, June 23