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Coorong council trims rate increase to 9.5 per cent
Property rates will still go up in 2023-24, but not by quite as much as expected after councillors and staff found more than $900,000 worth of savings.
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Property rates will jump sharply in the Coorong district this year, but not quite by as much as the council had planned.
Rates will go up by 9.5 per cent for 2023-24 after a council vote last week.
By the time they passed the budget, councillors and staff had found $925,000 worth of savings, or “service level adjustments”:
$358,000 from low-priority roads
$252,000 by delaying the replacement of vehicles and machinery
$208,000 from tourism and community services
$100,000 from master planning
$8000 from cemetery operations
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Still, Mayor Paul Simmons said the significant rate increase was “the only realistic way forward” for the council amid “continually increasing” operating costs.
“While the increase this year is substantial, putting off this increase (would) only lead to continual, higher rate increases in the years to come,” he said at the council’s meeting.
He blamed external bodies including the Essential Services Commission of South Australia, which has oversight over councils’ budgets, for limiting the council’s ability to put off rate increases until future years.
The council is projecting a deficit of $522,000 for the 2023-24 financial year.
The average residential ratepayer will pay about $30 more than last year, or $944, according to Mr Simmons.