CEO warns: purse strings will tighten

SOUTH Gippsland Shire Council is concerned about its ability to fund future projects in the wake of the State Government’s rate capping policy.

In a message to Local Government Minister Natalie Hutchins in council’s annual report, chief executive officer Tim Tamlin said the government’s Fair Go Rates policy would likely impact council in the long term.

“South Gippsland Shire Council continues to deal with the pressures of balancing community needs and our capacity to raise the revenue required to meet those needs,” Mr Tamlin wrote.

“With a small population in a large geographical area, the reality is that we are always challenged to manage the asset renewal gap, particularly as we framed the budget for the 2016-17 year in the context of your government’s Fair Go Rates policy.”

Mr Tamlin said rates remained council’s only substantial revenue source.

“While we have been able to successfully frame a budget for 2016-17, the implications for our community and its assets will be more pronounced the longer the policy endures. As a result of the policy we are forecasting a cut to our revenue by $38.9 million between now and 2030,” he wrote.

“As a consequence of councils no longer being able to levy sufficient rates to provide the services and asset maintenance their communities expect without seeking an exemption through the Essential Service Commission, competition for grants will intensify.

“Thus far we have been quite successful in attracting funding to our municipality, but we fear that this may not be the case into the future.”

Mr Tamlin said at the end of June 2016, council’s financial position remained strong with the operating result of $4.23 million in line with the forecast outcome of $2.50 million.

The annual report states council has reduced rates under the State Government’s rate capping legislation through a restructure that reduced senior management and streamlined services.

In the last official duty of the current council ahead of the new council being announced this Saturday, council last Wednesday adopted the report which purports council has listened to ratepayers’ requests to cut rates, made Coal Creek Community Park and Museum more financially sustainable by introducing cost saving measures, and distributed rates more equitably.

Among other highlights were more road repairs and advocacy for major repairs to the South Gippsland Highway between Korumburra and Leongatha, and funding for the Black Spur realignment at Koonwarra.

Seventy-seven percent of planning applications were decided within 60 days.

“It tells the story in black and white of what we have done this year,” Cr Jim Fawcett said.

Cr Nigel Hutchinson-Brooks said South Gippsland council was widely respected beyond the shire for being receptive to public presentations and easy to deal with.

“This council can be proud with the way it deals with the issues that come before it,” he said.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=19849

Posted by on Oct 25 2016. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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