Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Five dollars trimmed from your rates rise

Cr Rachel Power, right, addressing the budget meeting.
FIVE dollars was trimmed from each ratepayer's bill for 2019-20 during the brief discussion of the Derwent Valley Council's budget at last week's special meeting in the New Norfolk Courthouse. Two alterations were made to the draft budget before it was unanimously approved with its 3.95% increase in the general rate.

In moving that the council adopt the Annual Plan for 2019-20, Councillor Martyn Evans proposed that a funding allocation for the New Norfolk High St Market be removed from the budget, and that the waste management levy be reduced from the recommended $60 charge to $55. This charge, now in its fourth year, is intended to cover the cost of eventually closing and rehabilitating the Peppermint Hill tip site and establishing a waste transfer station.

"Obviously the market is contracted out and I don't think there needs to be a provision in the budget for $15,500," Cr Evans said, adding that this represented a saving of almost $5 per rateable property and this should be passed on. "[The waste charge] was to be $60 per property, so moving it back to $55 ... takes it back to what it was the year before last."

Cr Evans said this would mean the waste charge had gone from $35 in its first year, to $55 and then $85, and now back to $55. "That's a good result considering there is no plan on how we're doing, and [how we're] going to spend that money on the waste refuse site up there at Peppermint Hill," Cr Evans said. "We need to know what we're actually putting that money away for. We understand that there has been some estimates around $2 million but we need that plan to actually say that."

Cr Julie Triffett seconded Cr Evans' proposal and in the only other discussion Cr Rachel Power asked whether the savings from the market would balance out the lost income from the waste charge. Mayor Ben Shaw said this was difficult to estimate. "I think it's about $10,000 difference, but essentially it won't change the overall operating budget because it's going to be added to a reserve."

When put to the vote, Cr Evans' alteration to the Annual Plan was approved unanimously. The market operator, deputy mayor Jessica Cosgrove, did not speak during the discussion of the Annual Plan and had declared a conflict of interest in the next agenda item which was the council's 2019-20 Rates Resolution and Charges.

The six-minute long discussion of the annual plan was then followed by the rates and charges document for the next financial year, which was dealt with in less than three minutes. Cr Evans pointed out the changes that would be necessary to reflect his two alterations to the annual plan, and Cr Power asked about late payments.

"If we are going to be increasing late payment fees, what is the process to get to that point? People will be charged the extra 8.1% ... if we've got people facing hardship is there a backup plan for those people?" Cr Power asked. A council officer responded that the council's Rates and Charges Policy allowed for people in financial difficulty to make arrangements for a special payment plan.

Mayor Ben Shaw then asked about the process for dealing with overdue rates payments. "Do we actually contact the ratepayers and let them know ... or do we actually just send them straight to collection?" A council officer responded: "Oh no, they definitely get reminder notices."

RELATED:
COUNCIL RATE RISE RECOMMENDED
COUNCIL'S "SENSIBLE BUDGET"

Speaking from the chair after the passing of the Annual Report, Cr Shaw thanked the finance staff and everyone else who had contributed to the preparation of the budget. He said it had been a lengthy process with quite a few meetings and workshops.

1 comment:

  1. I missed the meeting so I'm depending on this story for the following reactions & comments. "FIVE dollars was trimmed from each ratepayer's bill for 2019-20 during the brief discussion of the Derwent Valley Council's budget at last week's special meeting in the New Norfolk Courthouse." The word that has caught my attention is 'trimmed' but before we explore that, both of the concerns raised in brief discussion could have been dealt with I'm quoting the Mayor "He said it had been a lengthy process with quite a few meetings and workshops."
    There is this point worth considering on page 10 of the Derwent Valley Council Special Agenda 24 July 2019 ."The Annual Plan and esimates of Council's REVENUE and expediture (hereinafter referred to as the Draft Budget) have been prepared in line with the following" 4.1 (4.) "adopt the esimates of Council's REVENUE and expenditure etc.etc." the revenue & expediture is money in money out.
    Therefore 4.2 2019/2020 Rates Resolutions and Charges money coming in I my mind should have been dealt with first. The suppy part of the 'suppy & demand dynamic' after discussion & debate & passing the recommendations of 4.2 must happen before considering the Annual Plan.
    The word trimmed does capture much more than the by-product of five dollrs in our pockets. The word triggers a look at the budget via the lense of trimming as it has been used when delivering services. That is for another day.
    "Cr Rachel Power asked whether the savings from the market would balance out the lost income from the waste charge." There is part of the 'money in' so to put the 'money out' into perspective on page 24 of the Draft Budget Operating Expenses WASTE MANAGEMENT up $187,105 from 2018/2019 budget review. We must keep in mind the operating 'money in' will be blank on the same page. Now that would have been a good question WHY.

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