Alpine Shire rates well ahead of budget

Alpine Shire Council has received a boost ahead of the release of their draft budget, rating extremely well in the Municipal Association of Victoria’s Trends in Local Government Finance 2007-08 report.

The report rated all Victorian councils over a range of subjects, including underlying operating position, working capital, rate effort and costs and efficiency. The report also listed 24 councils that were under high or very high financial pressure. Alpine Shire was not included on this list.

Alpine Shire posted the ninth highest operating surplus (6.5%) out of the 79 Victorian councils between 1997/98 to 2007/08. Alpine Shire also received a very good rating for impact of net asset levels on Council's viability over the last four years. This was an impressive result with only 10 councils receiving a very good rating.

Alpine Shire borrowed $1 million over the 11 year period which was the 14th lowest among the councils.

Alpine Shire Council CEO Ian Nicholls said this report was a good indication of Alpine's economic strength.

"Not only is the Alpine Shire in a strong financial position, we are among the top councils for operating surplus," he said.

"This reinforces our decision not to borrow large amounts of money to fund our projects. We always allocate our funds cautiously and we will continue to be extremely diligent in the future. We are mindful of covering an adequate maintenance level of our assets and to cover rising material and employee costs.

"We continue to do everything in our power to ensure the ongoing viability and sustainability of the Alpine Shire. Since 2002 Alpine Shire has averaged its rate rises at just under 5% per year, well under the average for Victorian councils at 7.1%."

Council will release the draft budget at the next Council meeting on Tuesday 1 June in Myrtleford. The public will be able to comment on the draft budget until June 30 before it is planned to be accepted at the July council meeting.

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