Coorong council plans 10 per cent rate increase
The council’s draft budget for 2023-24 includes a $131 property rates hike for the average resident. Here’s how they plan to spend your money.
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Council rates bills are expected to go up by 10 per cent in the Coorong district this year.
The increase was included in a draft budget for 2023-24 which was approved by councillors last Tuesday.
The rate rise would amount to a $131 annual increase for an average resident, according to the council; or $458 for an average primary producer.
An average rates bill would increase to $1046 for a resident, or $4383 for a farmer; though some ratepayers would pay much more, and some much less, depending on the value of their properties.
Mayor Paul Simmons acknowledged the pain the increase would cause.
“We fully understand that our resident base, community, industry and sporting groups have suffered financial setbacks over the course of the recent pandemic and cost of living crisis,” he said in an introduction to the draft budget.
“Council has not been immune from these impacts.”
What will the money be spent on?
The council has budgeted for $19 million worth of spending during the next year, most of it on infrastructure – and most of that on roads.
Among the spending proposed in the draft budget is:
$3.6 million for upgrades on unsealed roads, including Carcuma Road
$2.1 million for upgrades on sealed roads, including Poltalloch Road
$428,000 for water infrastructure, including a pump for the Pangarinda Botanic Garden at Wellington East
$125,000 for upgrades on Hutt Street, Tailem Bend
$125,000 for new footpaths around the district
Another $100,000 will be used to progress a master plan for the heart of Tailem Bend and two other townships, and $50,000 on planning for population growth at Wellington East.
The council will also improve disability access at its Tailem Bend office, produce a prospectus for businesses interested in investing in the area and establish an arts advisory group, among other projects.
Those priorities were chosen based on a strategic plan for the district, which itself was based on feedback from more than 250 locals in late 2020.
CEO Bridget Mather described the infrastructure spending as an investment in the district’s future, and in inter-generational equity – it would not be fair if future generations had to pay more because the current generation wanted to pay less.
Have your say on the budget
The council will seek comments from ratepayers, online and at information sessions around the district, between now and June 9.
Councillors will then finalise the budget based on the feedback they receive.
State Local Government Minister Geoff Brock encouraged everyone to have their say.
“When as many people and businesses share their views as possible, our councils will ... be able to better consider what the community values and the most appropriate path to achieve this,” he said.
“If you have concerns about your ability to pay your rates, I urge you to reach out to your council to discuss what relief measures may be available to help you.”
More information: Attend a public meeting at the Coorong council office at Tailem Bend at 6.30pm on June 8 or visit www.coorong.sa.gov.au.
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