Reliance on external funding highlighted

Council’s reliance on external funding has again been highlighted after the release of their 2010/2011 draft budget.

The draft budget includes a $5.7 million capital works program which is mostly funded by external grants. Council expects to receive $3.5 million in funding from external grants and third party contributions to ensure the proposed program goes ahead.

Highlights of the program include the new Early Years Centre at the Bright P-12 College, partial sealing of Stanley Road between Myrtleford and Beechworth and the completion of several community hall projects across the shire.

Council CEO Ian Nicholls said external funding was critical to the ongoing viability of the shire due to its low rating strategy.

“The Alpine Shire is largely made up of Crown Land which means Council only generates rates from eight per cent of the shire,” he said.

“We have one of the lowest percentages of rateable land in Victoria. This means we rely heavily on external grants to maintain our level of services and deliver new initiatives. Without the external funding we would be unable to deliver such a large and diverse capital works program.

Mr Nicholls said that Council would continue to lobby for external funding that will benefit the community.

“Council staff has worked extremely hard to secure external funding for a range of projects in the shire,” he said.

“This enables us to minimize the financial impact on our ratepayers, while maintaining our services to the community. Five per cent is one of the lowest average rate rises in north east Victoria and is well below the state average. Since 2002 Alpine Shire has averaged its rate rises at under five per cent per year. This is well below the 7.1 per cent average for Victorian councils.”

The draft budget was presented at the 1 June Council meeting and can be viewed on Council’s website under ‘on exhibition’. It will be open for comment until 30 June. It will then be discussed further before it is planned to be adopted at the next Council meeting on 6 July in the Bright Council Chambers. Submissions can be made in writing to Manager Corporate Services, Luke Taberner, PO BOX 139, Bright, Victoria, 3741.

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