Brighton confirms budget and rates

BRIGHTON Council has adopted its budget for the next financial year and confirmed its rates will be held in line with the 1.3 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

The annual budget, approved at the Council’s June meeting, provides for an operating surplus and fully funds depreciation on Council assets. It also includes provision for a range of initiatives to improve services and amenities for ratepayers.Brighton Mayor Tony Foster said under Council’s fair rating policy, household rates in Brighton will rise by just $11 next year, or less than $1 a month.

“This is the 20th year in succession that we’ve held rate rises down in line with the CPI, an achievement all Councillors and Council staff are immensely proud of,” Cr Foster said.

“No other council in Tasmania, or indeed any large council in Australia, has kept rate rises to CPI for 20 years providing a clear demonstration that bigger is not always better.

“At the same time, we’ve been able to continue to grow our municipality and provide the full range of local government services and facilities for ratepayers and the community.”

The coming year’s budget expenditure totals $17.3 million and provides for a number of important works. The major project in the capital renewal program is the replacement of the Cove Hill Bridge and reconstruction of Cove Hill Road.  Quotations for the bridge replacement will be sought early in the new year.

The Brighton streetscape project will continue with improvements planned from the Brighton Bakery to Racecourse Road and from Andrew Street to Racecourse Road on the eastern side.  A new footpath will be constructed from the army camp gates to Pontville and road resealing and footpath repair work would be undertaken as required.

The Old Beach Jetty will be replaced in a joint project with Marine and Safety Tasmania and Council will match Commonwealth Government funding to upgrade the Brighton Bowls and Community Club.

Cr Foster said in line with Brighton’s long-term asset management plan, the major focus was on the renewal of major assets to maintain their condition at an acceptable level of service.

He said the anticipated continued revenue growth from new housing and industrial expansion in Brighton had enable the Council to support the municipality’s development while holding down rate rises to CPI.

“We will also be continuing to provide professional services to other councils and participate in our joint services arrangements, gaining additional revenue, as well as enhancing efficiency and services.

“Our approach is built around three important factors – keeping down administration costs, selling our services and unique MicroWise computer software, and sharing common services with other like-minded councils.

“Because of our operational efficiency, strong financial management, our fair rating regime and shared service initiatives, we have been able keep down rates, provide the full range of local government services, and at the same time, guarantee that ratepayers are protected from major rises as a result of revaluations or other factors.

“This means that Brighton ratepayers continue to benefit from the full range of services provided at the lowest possible cost and enjoy the lowest council rates in Tasmania,” Mayor Foster said.