By TONY FOSTER AOM
AS we near the end of the financial year and look towards the future, I am pleased to be able to report that your Council is again looking to keep rate increases to the rise in the Consumer Price Index (CPI)
That means we are able to continue to provide all the services and undertake a number of important initiatives, but contained our cost increases within the inflation rate of 2.5 percent, as measured by the CPI. This equates to a rise of just $19 for the year for each household in the municipality. I am sure that householders are well aware that this is quite a feat in these times of ever-rising costs for a range of goods and services, with many of the increases well in excess of the CPI rise.Brighton Council is able to do this because we have a very efficient administration – in fact the lowest cost ratio of any Council in Tasmania and this is the 17th year running that we have maintained rate increases at or below the inflation rate.
I expect that our 2013-14 budget, including the rates for the next 12 months, will be formally approved at Council’s June meeting, after being support in principle in May.
As reported in this issue of Brighton Community News, Council is planning an impressive list of initiatives for the next year.
I would like to focus on one of these this month and that is our investment in landscaping in the Brighton township. With the advent of the Brighton Bypass, Council now has responsibility for the main road – formerly the Midland Highway.
The street-scaping project aims to beautify the Main Road precinct and assist in driving business growth and employment in Brighton. This in turn will assist in boosting Council’s rate base as the increased opportunities will attract people to the municipality, so increasing our population.
The project has been developed following extensive consultation with the local community and is based on our comprehensive local area plan.
This provides for a suitable mix and location of land uses within the township centre, facilitating commercial growth, improving access and movement of vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists throughout the township and facilitating urban design and townscape improvements.
At the same time, we are also continuing to look at and implement initiatives that are assisting local businesses to manage the impact of the loss of through traffic as a result of the Midland Highway now bypassing Brighton.
Importantly, this work will make Brighton a more attractive place for our community and visitors to come and do business, relax and enjoy.
I am confident that through the efforts of the Council and the community we will see Brighton again become a village that can be enjoyed by our community as well as by visitors to our municipality, rather than a township split by a highway.