All councillors endorse draft budget with a five per cent rate rise

Cr Colin McKenzie

Cr Colin McKenzie

ARARAT - Ararat Rural City Council's 2014/2015 draft budget, which included a five per cent rate rise, was endorsed unanimously by all councillors.

Cr Colin McKenzie said on Tuesday night that the five per cent rise was 'the minimum rise we could have got away with'.

" We have spent numerous meetings and assemblies trying to evaluate what is the best value," he said.

"We had to cut out most of everything new, just concentrate on holding and maintaining the things and assets that we have to observe now. We'll try next year to make it better, but I really don't see how we could have made it any lower than what we've done now."

Cr Ian Harris believes there are certain things the community needed to think about when it came to the budget, and the rate rise was only one small part of it.

"Local government gets three per cent of all money collected by governments collected in Australia and that three per cent we have to deliver a range of services that are often imposed upon us by the federal and state governments," he said.

"And if it suits them over the years to continue that responsibility then they do so, but if at the same time they reduce the funding they put in to it, who has to make up for it? We do.

"If we don't make this small rate rise we then have to then look at other ways of getting money and it is very significant to me that this council is not in debt. If we do not do things like this five per cent rate rise the only other avenue to go down is to borrow money to meet our responsibilities and this costs us more and will cost us more than five percent.

Cr Ian Harris.

Cr Ian Harris.

"In November this year there is a state election and local government is part of the political scenery and if you have the ear of a budding politician in November, talk to them about the fact that your council is being forced by the state government and federal government to work with a miniscule budget.

"If there is any reality we should be getting more from both levels of government."

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