Council proposes 2% rate rise

Council is calling for feedback: Murray River Council has adopted and is now calling for feedback on its draft 2022/23 Operational Plan and Budget which includes a $28.13 million capital works program. Photo by Cath Grey

Murray River Council has proposed a two per cent rate rise as part of the draft 2022-23 Operational Plan and budget.

The budget includes a $28.13 million capital works program with a proposed $2.1 million investment into the Moama Preschool Development, $2.195 million into TechnologyOne implementation and a total of $6.5 million invested into the bridges at Tooranie Rd/Yarrein Cr, Sandy’s Rd/Barber Cr, and Frasers Rd/Murrain Yarrein Ck.

Murray River Council mayor Chris Bilkey said the council was delivering a carefully considered budget with a view to extra planning during the next 12 months.

“We are still finalising a service review program which is looking at asset management plans, service delivery and resourcing,” Cr Bilkey said.

“Once complete, we will be able to more accurately plan where we are going with services, assets and maintenance in the longer term.”

Cr Bilkey said the outcomes of such reviews would be built into future financial plans and budgets.

“We are confident this budget strikes a balance between fulfilling existing levels of service, continuing delivery of community projects and remaining flexible enough to consider outcomes of our service review,” he said.

The 2022-23 draft budget estimates an operating revenue of $57.4 million and operating expenses of $57.6 million for the coming year.

The larger areas of capital spend include:
TechnologyOne Implementation $2,195,000
Moama Preschool Development $2,101,452
Tooranie Rd / Yarrein Cr Bridge $2,100,000
Sandy's Rd / Barber Cr Bridge $1,800,000
Plant Replacement Program$1,500,000
Regional Roads Reseals Program $1,400,000
Rural Roads Reseals & Heavy Patching Program$1,400,000
Frasers Rd / Murrain Yarrein Ck Bridge $1,300,000
Waste 10Yr Capex Program - Year 1 Activities $1,250,000
Automated Depot and Re-Sale Shop $1,206,000

Of the $28.1 million capital works program, $14.1 million will come from council operations and reserves, $11.7 million from capital grants and contributions and $2.3 million from loan borrowings.

Council will also see an overall draft deficit of $1.38 million for the 2022/23 financial year.

Council chief executive Terry Dodds said the draft deficit was largely the result of one-off projects for the 2022-23 year budget that were funded by council’s own source.

“It will result in projects being completed, like the service review, that will allow council to further improve its overall operating performance ratio over the longer term,” he said.

“As well as reviewing asset management plans, service delivery and resourcing, staff have commenced an organisation-wide project to continually assess how outcomes are achieved.

“This will require everyone to adopt a different mindset; as we all know, the most dangerous phrase in the English language is 'we've always done it this way’.”

Cr Bilkey said it was the first budget under the new Community Strategic Plan.

“Our draft four-year delivery program then breaks down all the goals listed in the CSP into actions and is further supported by our draft operational plan which details the financial resources allocated to deliver certain items over this coming year,” he said.

The draft budget is now available for public comment until 5pm on Friday, June 17.