Lockhart ratepayers are set to be slugged with rate increases above normal for the next 10 years.
The increase comes after the Fit For the Future initiative which saw councils around the state merged when they were deemed “unfit”.
Lockhart Shire fought its way out of a forced three-way merger between Urana and Corowa.
The increase to rates is a direct result of Lockhart remaining indepent. The council needs to satisfy IPART and the state government that Lockhart can continue independently into the future.
The rate rise was on the cards to fund swimming pools refurbishments and flood mitigation work before the merger proposal but was put back.
The exact amount rates will rise by has not been decided but council had raised 4.6 per cent when they first started looking at the increase in 2015. (The figure includes rate pegging.)
The exact figure won’t be decided until later this year once all community meetings have been complete.
Council hope to see the variation in place by the 2017-18 financial year.
If the 4.6 per cent figure is used for the rate increase $120,000 extra will be raised from rates in the first year.
“We have a low income from rates,” Lockhart Shire Council general manager Rod Shaw said.
The pool refurbishments are expected to cost between three and four million depending on the price when the projects go to tender.
“Repayments (on the project) for the first few years will be higher than what we are getting from the rate increase,” Mr Shaw said.
Council will meet with community members at five locations later this month to discuss the rate increase and the review of the community strategic plan.
Community consultation dates: