Councillors cop flack for lifting property rates

The Murray Bridge council has taken some criticism for its draft 2020-21 budget.

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A planned property rate rise has not gone down well with Murray Bridge residents, judging by the responses to the city council's draft budget for 2020-21.

Public feedback on the budget, which proposes a 1.3 per cent rate increase, was published ahead of a council meeting on Monday night.

Eight submissions were received this year – not enough to be representative, but evidence of those people's strong feelings.

Four objected to the rate rise.

"It is very disappointing that, once again, council has seen fit to increase the rates for businesses and house owners," one said.

"Council may not have lifted the percentage payable for the last (two) years, but you certainly had the Valuer-General come through and re-evaluate everyone's house, so we paid more again.

"Why is (it) that a person can buy a property in the Adelaide Hills or Barossa three times the value of a property in the Bridge and pay substantially less in rates?"

The other hot topic was the Erskine Bridge at Callington, which links the town's two halves.

The Murray Bridge and Mount Barker councils plan to build a separate pedestrian bridge across the Bremer River.

Residents worried that funding for the project was not explicitly separated out in the draft budget, and wanted a guarantee that it would go ahead.

Councillors did not discuss either issue at length at their meeting on Monday night, which was broadcast on the council's YouTube channel.

In fact, they did not discuss any issue at length – with members of the public unable to give presentations in person, the whole thing was over in less than 15 minutes.

Any changes prompted by the public will be incorporated into a final version of the budget, which is due to be approved next Tuesday.

Image: Peri Strathearn.