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Councillors signal budget revisit

Wednesday 24 April

East Gippsland Shire councillors have signalled they may revisit Council’s 2019-20 Draft Budget (released April 9) prior to public submissions formally closing.


Mayor Cr Natalie O’Connell has requested that the Chief Executive Officer Anthony Basford investigate additional rating scenarios for consideration by her East Gippsland Shire councillor colleagues, due to the ongoing impact of drought on farmers.


“We have requested additional rating scenarios for our consideration and that those scenarios cover the full spectrum of options from the current proposal, a more even percentage increase across the residential, commercial/industrial and farm rates, and through to a freeze on the farm rate for the 2019/20 rating year,” Cr O’Connell said.


“Councillors will be provided with detail on how these scenarios would impact the long-term financial sustainability of the organisation, including the provision of services at current expected levels and capital works projects.


“Councillors will receive this additional information within the week and may then consider adopting a Revised Draft Budget at the May 7 Council meeting.”


The Mayor said Council has an obligation to prepare budgets for the long-term financial sustainability of the organisation.


“Essentially, I have asked the CEO to take a fresh look at the long term financial sustainability of Council against the needs of our ratepayers during these extended drought conditions,” Cr O’Connell said.


As part of Council’s acknowledgement of the impacts of drought on many parts of the economy – including farms and businesses – a range of initiatives are in place.


“One of those initiatives is that we have committed to lowering the price of adult entry to this week’s East Gippsland Field Days to $5 per adult entry,” Cr O’Connell said.


“At the Field Days this Friday and Saturday we will be in The Drought Hub (sites B9-10) and councillors want to hear from ratepayers, including their feedback on the proposed draft budget.


“This is all valuable information that guides our decision making around ensuring we strike the right balance between rates and charges and maintaining existing service levels.”


The documents and information on how to make a submission to the Draft Budget are available from Council’s website and the community is encouraged to have their say.


Drought image



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