Alpine rate rise lowest in 15 years

6 May 2015

Alpine Shire’s proposed rate rise of 2.9% is the lowest in 15 years and was made possible by a $3.3million saving in recurring expenditure.

At last night’s council meeting, the draft 2015 – 2016 budget was approved and is now on exhibition for public comment until 10 June.

Alpine CEO, Dave Barry said the rate increase is expected to be by far the lowest in the region and a real saving for ratepayers given that rate rises have, on average, exceeded 5% for each of the last 15 years.

“Council has given me clear instructions that we must explore all avenues for efficiencies and that rates should only be relied on as an approach of last resort,” Mr Barry said.

Alpine Mayor, Cr Jan Vonarx said it was gratifying to see the work council did last year to find savings of well over $1.5million, resulting in a low rate rise while offering residents new and improved benefits.

“The 2.9% increase has been achieved through a range of cost savings, including reducing:
• clerical staff numbers by 25% or 21 full time equivalent (FTE) staff;
• private-use motor vehicle fleet by 60% from 22 to 8, and
• smaller spend items resulting in a further $110,000 recurring saving,” Cr Vonarx said.

Cr Vonarx said other key outcomes from this budget include:
• All council debt ($1million) paid off so that the Shire becomes fully debt-free;
• Higher than typical capital works budget at $8.5million;
• Capacity to fund $6.25million of streetscape improvements over the coming five years;
• Family season passes (early bird) to our swimming pool reduced from $295 to $99 (66% less);
• Reducing the cost of the increasingly popular 360 litre recycling bin from $225 to $180 (20% less) to be the same price as a 240 litre recycling bin, and
• Reduce hall usage fees to $15 per hour.

“While we have a long way to go in continuing to improve our service delivery, reduce costs further and to listen more to our ratepayers, this budget demonstrates some real steps in that direction,” Cr Vonarx said.

Mr Barry said these initial changes could not have been achieved without a committed and capable workforce.

“We have reviewed every service delivery area to ensure we are only delivering services that make a difference to our ratepayers,” he said.

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