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Council caps rate increase to reduce impact on ratepayers

To minimise the burden on City of Victor Harbor ratepayers, the Council has capped its rate increase and opted for a deficit budget in 2017/18.

The City of Victor Harbor finalised its budget process at a special council meeting held last night when it adopted its 2017/18 budget.

Council faced a number of challenges in setting its budget with a combination of cost shifting from other levels of government, introduction of new services, increased power and waste services expenses, increased depreciation due to revaluations, and transfer of State Government Housing to Community Housing increasing council expenditure by over 8%. The budget also responds to priorities highlighted by the community and through the consultation process.

Elected Members were united in their view that ratepayers should not be responsible for the full increase, and agreed to cap the 2017/18 rate rise. The average rate increase is 3.5% or $63 for the year. For residential ratepayers this will mean an average increase on last year’s rates of 3.1% or $55.

The budget allows for a net capital works program of $5.9 million. Operating expenses of $26.6 million will be funded by revenue of $25.5 million resulting in a deficit of $1.1 million.

The increased deficit is largely due to the early payment of federal and state grants which has reduced 2017/18 revenue by $621,000. 

“Advance payment of Financial Assistance Grants does not impact our cash flow. However, because they need to be receipted in the previous financial year, the bottom line for 2017/18 is affected,” said Mayor Philp.

“Council has a long record of stable and reliable financial performance, and has experienced budget surpluses over a number of years. Coupled with a comparatively low level of debt, this places us in a sound financial position to move back into a surplus in the next two years.”

A scheduled review of the City of Victor Harbor’s Long Term Financial Plan in 2017/18 will set a framework for the Council to protect its financial position and move back into a surplus position.

Mayor Philp is positive about Victor Harbor’s bright future and said there is a lot to look forward to.

“Victor Harbor is experiencing an exciting period of growth with major commercial developments on the cards, a new tourism operation gearing up to reinvigorate Granite Island, an expanding digital economy, and an emerging arts industry,” said Mayor Philp.

“It is crucial for Council to support this by investing appropriately in infrastructure and services that meet the needs of its growing community now and into the future.”

The City of Victor Harbor's 2017/18 Annual Business Plan and Budget is available for viewing online or at the Civic Centre (1 Bay Road, Victor Harbor).

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