RATES LOWERED, FINANCIAL REVIEW PLANNED AS MID MURRAY MAKES BUDGET CHANGES

Friday, June 14, 2019

The Mid Murray Council has committed to reducing the financial impact on its ratepayers and a rigorous review of its long-term finances following extensive community consultation.
Mayor Dave Burgess said Elected Members and Senior Management had heard the concerns of ratepayers during public feedback on its Draft 2019/20 Annual Business Plan and Draft Long Term Financial Plan.
Councillors committed to reducing the average residential rate increase from the original proposed 3.6% to a maximum of 2.9% after hearing from speakers at a public meeting on Tuesday, 11 June and reading through the written submissions provided as part of the consultation process.
“It’s encouraging to see our community so engaged and willing to contribute to the discussion about our future direction as a Council,” Mayor Burgess says.
“The views of our community have been heard by the Council in our decision to act on updating the Draft 2019/20 Annual Business Plan and lowering the proposed rate rise to reflect those concerns.
“We understand that families, farmers and pensioners are struggling under the rising cost of living, as well as facing other pressures including the recent drought.
“While the financial sustainability of the Council remains a priority for Elected Members and staff, we have listened to our community and acted.
“We are committed to identifying efficiencies in line with the expectations of our community during this challenging time, while also delivering key services and projects.”
Council’s Senior Management are reviewing the Draft 2019/20 Annual Business Plan to determine where savings can be made before a revised plan is presented to Elected Members for adoption at their July meeting.
Mid Murray Chief Executive Officer, Ben Scales, said while the current focus has been on the budget for the coming financial year, the Council was also committed to reviewing its Long Term Financial Plan, which includes a debt reduction strategy, to ensure the organisation achieves its objective of sustainable prosperity.
“Our role is to find efficiencies in all areas of Council business, and over the next 12 months we’ll be working on a full review of all Council services and operations,” Mr Scales says.
“This will be one of my main priorities as the new CEO.