Horsham Rural City Council’s proposed 2021-2022 budget was on public exhibition until Monday, June 7. Submissions are now closed.
The budget and an engagement report were considered by Council at the June 28 meeting. The budget was adopted at this meeting.
The following changes to the draft budget were made in response to the submissions and also note that these changes are immaterial in nature so have not been incorporated in to the budget document at this point of time. They will be added in to Council’s budget when carry-forward projects are brought to account in early 2021-2022:
a) $10,000 to assist with planning costs re a serenity garden for women impacted by family violence
b) $20,000 to assist with community planning at Natimuk with respect to Economic Development and the impact of changes at Mount Arapiles
c) $66,000 to improve the train station garden and surrounds and open space.
Rates have been increased by the 1.5 per cent ministerial cap, farm differentials have been reduced and the municipal charge has been decreased from $274 to $240.
The draft Budget also includes 27 per cent increase in spending on rural roads and infrastructure.
The overall capital works program is $20.3 million, which includes allocations to upgrade Horsham Caravan Park, the construction of accessible change rooms at Horsham Aquatic Centre and the refurbishment of Horsham Town Hall’s heritage floor. Funding will also go towards riverfront developments and implementation of the City to River Masterplan.
The 2021-22 works are funded from $8.9 million in external grants, $6 million from general revenues, $4.76 million from cash reserves and the balance of $0.62 from asset sales.
Farm values have increased by 27.42 per cent in the past 12 months, prompting Council to propose a further eight per cent discount to the agricultural sector by reducing the differential from 67 per cent to 59 per cent. This means that farmers will pay rates on 59 per cent of the value of their properties. If Council were not to adjust the differential, the farm sector increase would be approximately 17.9 per cent.
Rates for the residential sector will rise by 3.01 percent, commercial will fall by 4.33 per cent and Industrial will increase by 0.18 per cent.
There are no external borrowings planned for this year.