Sunday, 4 May 2014

Melton Councillors Agree to a 4.80% Rate Increase After Split Vote

Extract of Article by Ami Humpage of the Leader Community Newspaper

Year Melton Rate Increases CPI Increases
2010 5.90% 2.30%
2011 3.00% 3.30%
2012 4.50% 1.60%
2013 4.00% 2.50%
2014 4.80% 2.90%
Five Year Increases from ABS compiled by Diggers Rest Talk
Melton Council will spend thousands of dollars getting residents out and about if its draft budget is approved.

The council has set aside money in its draft budget, presented at last night’s council meeting, for outdoor gym equipment, a BMX track at McPherson Park, new ovals at Arnolds Creek, an athletics track at Atherstone and upgrades to netball and tennis courts throughout the city. The council also proposes to spend $50,000 on investigating a public safety CCTV system and has increased the pensioner rebate from $45 to $60. It also includes a new Urban Growth Land Rate for landowners not covered by a Precinct Structure Plan.

Rates are proposed to rise by 4.8 per cent, meaning the average property owner will pay $1745 next financial year. As well as the 4.8 per cent rise, which equates to an average $47 increase for general (residential) rate payers, the budget includes $47.2 million in capital works.

Cr Broden Borg objected to the draft budget, saying he could not support any rate rise and that money was being wasted on unnecessary projects.

He said the budget was unfair and unjust and that the rate rise was detrimental to the health and wellbeing of Melton residents.

“How can residents live and enjoy their surroundings when they have to work two jobs to survive?”

Cr Lara Carli agreed and branded the budget “outrageous” and “unfair”.

“Residents are doing it tough and once again money is being wasted on projects that are not needed, such as the millions being put into Atherstone.”

But mayor Bob Turner said to say there was no need in the municipality for more projects and services was “ridiculous”.

“We are not in a position to be able to freeze rates. No one has pockets of money.”

Cr Sophie Ramsey said Melton was a growth area and as more people come to the city more services and programs need to be put in place for them.

“There is a huge demand on this council, there needs to be a balance,’’ she said.

The budget was passed in a 4-2 split with councillors Borg and Carli the only objectors.

The draft budget is now on display and public submissions can be made until May 28 with submissions to be considered at a meeting on June 10.

The budget can be viewed online or at council offices in Melton and Caroline Springs.

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