Rates raised in Winton

There will still be an offered 15 per cent discount for those who pay early. PHOTO: 401(K) 2012; flikr.

AS a part of the budget released earlier thing month the Winton Shire Council have raised general rates and services and utility charges by 2.5 per cent.

The council will still be offering a 15 per cent discount for those who pay within the allocated period.

Winton Shire Council Mayor said the rates had been raised so that council could maintain essential services to the region.

He said these services included but were not restricted to parks, tourist destinations, and aged care.

He also noted that council had not raised rates the previous year due to COVID-19 which he said had been a tough year for the Shire.

“One of the challenges is delivering a balanced budget that gives the community the services essential to maintaining our lifestyle and our workforce security,” Cr Baskett said.

“I am pleased to present the budget for the 2021/2022 Financial Year.

“We have achieved a lot in the last 12 months in difficult times with the constant danger of COVID 19 threatening our health and economy.”

The Budget for 21/22 will total $43m (comprising $23.1m in operating expenditure and $19.9m in capital expenditure).

When the depreciation expense of $5.7m is deducted, this still leaves a budget of $37.3m.

Cr Baskett said before considering the Capital works portion of the budget we first ensured operational expenditure was prioritised to maintain the services council provides, which includes many that other councils may not, such as 60’s & Better, Family Support, Sport and Recreation, Community Development, Youth Development, Childcare, Community Care Packages, NDIS Program, Community and Individual Support.

“These important programs and initiatives are an essential part of the liveability of our shire for the youth and the elderly,” he said.

“There is an extensive rural roads allocation for this budget which includes the Flood

Restoration Program of $8.6M and Shire Road Maintenance Program of $1.4M. There are also funds to develop new property signage as well as investigating rural addressing to assist the Emergency Services to find properties.”

Cr Baskett said Jundah Road will have another section sealed of approximately 4km, which will leave about 30km of unsealed road to the Cork Road turn-off.

“Council acknowledges there is a massive issue with pests in our region and has committed $280,000 to assist with the control of wild dogs and has added $6,000 to the budget for a $5 pig snout bounty,” he said.

“This is a small part of our overall Rural Services budget of $1.2M.

“Council once again has a significant Capital Works Budget for the year with $4.6M worth of projects carried forward to create a total budget of $19.9m, this will ensure the upgrade of our ageing infrastructure and plant.”

Cr Baskett said council’s commitment to adopt an extensive Capital Works Program will help make Winton a very liveable community for its residents and visitors to enjoy.

“There has never been a better time to renew infrastructure with many Federal and State stimulus funding opportunities available,” he said.

Some of the projects selected for completion this year include Lynette Lane sealing; School Transport Project; Hospital Estate Development; Jet A1 fuelling facility; Masterplan Aged Care precinct; Saleyard scales renewal; New Youth & Disaster Recovery Centre; and many more.

Cr Baskett said council continues to maintain a strong financial position despite operating in very difficult economic times.

“Operating conditions can change very quickly and the funding streams we currently enjoy may not always be available,” he said.

Council is mindful of this and has taken the opportunity to maintain our financial reserves of $7.6M to ensure we are prepared for the future.

“I would like to acknowledge and thank Councillors, Directors, and Staff for the work that has gone into planning this budget.”