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Murray Bridge property rates will go down this year, but your bill will go up – here’s why
The Murray Bridge council has laid out its plans for 2022-23 in its $44.8 million draft budget.
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The Murray Bridge council will decrease property rates by seven per cent this July, but ratepayers will still wind up paying more.
Rates bills are based on the rate in the dollar charged by the council, but also on local property values, which have increased by an average of 10.5% over the past year.
So an average ratepayer will pay $55 more than they did this year, according to the council’s draft budget, published for consultation after a meeting on Monday night.
Here’s what ratepayers will get for their money.
Riverfront, basketball stadium will be focal points
For a start, the council plans to spend $9.7 million on new community infrastructure in 2022-23, including:
A shelter for riverboat passengers and refurbishment of Murray Bridge’s wharf ($3 million)
A 300-capacity basketball show court, canteen and change rooms at Murray Bridge Showground ($500,000)
New public toilets ($300,000)
A pontoon to replace the jetty at Woodlane ($145,000)
Green space at Magpie Drive Reserve and Rotary Jubilee Park ($100,000)
A public artwork celebrating local agricultural history at Sturt Reserve ($70,000)
It will also spend nearly $600,000 on events, including New Year’s Eve and the River Murray Splash festival; and millions more renewing roads, footpaths, kerbs, stormwater pipes and council-owned buildings.
The budget also includes the costs of running the Lerwin Nursing Home, Murray Bridge’s swimming centre and library, and the waste disposal and recycling centre at Brinkley.
Planning law changes will unlock more residential land
Another major focus in 2022-23 will be what the council is calling its “future city program”: plans for Murray Bridge’s continued growth.
That will include long-awaited changes to local property zoning laws which, for several years, have prevented property owners on the city’s outskirts from subdividing and selling.
Mayor Brenton Lewis said many of the land owners who had pioneered glasshouse vegetable-growing and intensive chicken farming in the district were now ready to retire to smaller properties.
“What they want to do is subdivide and sell their blocks, get their pension and get the hell out,” he said.
“Let’s get (their land) unlocked.”
In light of rising property values, Mr Lewis suggested the council consider reducing the rate charged against rural property owners – relative to everyone else – next year.
Similar discussions last year are what led to this year’s rate decrease.
Have your say about the draft budget
Anyone who wants to speak to councillors about the draft budget can register ahead of a public meeting to be held at 6pm on May 30.
Councillors will consider all written and verbal feedback before adopting a final version of the budget at a meeting on June 14.
More information: Visit letstalk.murraybridge.sa.gov.au/annual-business-plan-2022-2023 or pick up a hard copy of the budget at the Murray Bridge council office or Murray Bridge library.
Have your say: Fill in the survey at letstalk.murraybridge.sa.gov.au, email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to the Chief Executive Officer, the Rural City of Murray Bridge, PO Box 421, Murray Bridge SA 5253 before May 31.
Disclosure: The author is a Murray Bridge ratepayer.
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