By TONY FOSTER
I AM delighted to once again, highlight that Brighton Council’s strong financial management has ensured our municipality has enjoyed the lowest rate increase of all councils in Tasmania.
As you would know we announced an increase this financial year, of just over $20 for each residential property in line with the Hobart Consumer Price Index but lower than the national rate of inflation.
Annual household rates rose by $20.80 or 40 cents per week, with ratepayers in Bridgewater, Gagebrook and Herdsman Cove to pay $665.80 per year (currently $645) and other residents $780.80 (currently $760).
Brighton’s rate increases for all property sectors – residential, commercial and rural – has been kept at 2.9 percent and the maximum rate increase for any vacant residential land was increased by $6 (up from $200 to $206).
The development of Brighton’s 2011-12 budget was framed around six key fundamentals, which were that:
1. Council maintains a strict policy of maintaining the lowest rates per capita in Tasmania.
2. Council’s rate increases are limited to CPI.
3. Council fully funds depreciation with our capital funding covering the depreciation of all our infrastructure assets.
4. Council budgets for a profit
5. Council also budgets for a cash surplus.
6. Council sets aside additional funds for future bridge capital works.
Our ‘Fair Rating System’ is based on a continuation of its residential flat rate, and our efficient management has enabled us to keep this commitment to ratepayers.
Within these six fundamentals we budgeted for an operating surplus of $1.3 million for the coming year after providing $5 million for capital works and depreciation, and $250,000 in reserves for future bridge works.
Those capital works include significant reconstruction roadworks and new sealing on Old Beach Road, Jetty Road, Racecourse Road, the Back Tea Tree Road, Briggs Road, Yellow Brick Road and Millvale Road. Property refurbishments will be undertaken at the Pontville Hall, Old Beach Toilets, Coronation Hall Bridgewater, Cove Hill Oval and Old Beach Oval. The foreshore walks development will continue and two new children’s traffic simulation bike tracks will be built.
Council has been able to achieve all of this due to its foresight in introducing the ‘Fair Rating System’ that has provided certainty for ratepayers, encouraged the efficient management of Council’s business and provided the services required by our community.
Our 2011-12 budget and rates’ decision clearly demonstrates that our ‘Fair Rating System’ works for Brighton and its ratepayers.
In short, we have developed absolutely the right formula for our community and I am confident that this financial year will see our municipality continue to grow and prosper.