Brighton holds rates to CPI for 20th consecutive year

BRIGHTON Council will keep its annual rate increase in line with the Consumer Price Index for the 20th year in succession, with its fair rating policy seeing household rates rise by just $11 for 2016-2017.

The Brighton Council’s budget for 2016-2017 was adopted in principle last month. This included a rate rise of 1.3 percent (the annual Consumer Price Index increase for Hobart) providing the highest increase across the municipality for a residential home of just $11 a year or 21c per week.

Mayor Tony Foster said Brighton’s fair rating policy featuring a flat rate for residential properties ensured that Brighton ratepayers continued to enjoy the lowest rates per population in Tasmania.

He said this was the 20th year in succession that Brighton had maintained rate increases at, or below, the rate of inflation, something that all Councillors and Council staff were extremely proud of.

“It is a demonstration that bigger is not always better and that we can live within our means continuing to provide the services and support required by our community,” Cr Foster said.

“It provides a very positive response to the ideological push for forced council amalgamations and with our emphasis on sharing services with other like-minded councils, shows that we can operate efficiently and maintain a low rate regime.

“Many Tasmanian councils have already got their businesses in order with elected councillors and aldermen telling their general managers that they will not countenance rate rises this year above the 1.3 percent Hobart CPI increase. And they are also budgeting for surpluses as Brighton is.

“It is all about affordability for ratepayers and efficiency in local government if we want to avoid the prospect of the government of the day forcing councils to amalgamate in the mistaken belief that this alone can achieve efficiency.

“Mayors, councillors and aldermen must now make the hard decisions and demand their respective managements respond positively.”

Mayor Foster said the Brighton budget was cash positive and would allow for a responsible, modest surplus.

“This is despite the reduction in other revenue over recent years through cuts in Federal grants and reduced dividends from TasWater, and while other arms of government are increasing taxes and charges.

“Brighton Council’s strong financial position will also enable us to maintain a strong capital expenditure program next financial year that will benefit the entire community.

“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,” Mayor Foster said.

The Brighton Council budget and rate determination was approved in principle at this week’s meeting and will be officially passed at Council’s June meeting.