Alpine Council opts to raise rates by average $71

ALPINE Council will today publicly release its draft budget for 2014-15, committing to cut $1 million to $1.5 million from operations without impacting on service delivery.

The cost cutting is aimed to ensure long-term viability with less grant income expected.

Most savings would come by trimming staff costs, which should total $11 million.

A year ago, Alpine Council budgeted for $23.67 million in operating expenses for 2013-14.

Mayor Peter Roper said the draft budget adopted last week meant a 5 per cent rise in rate revenue, though average household rates would rise only 4.54 per cent or $71.62 as the shire now has more properties.

Some residents may notice values will change with re-valuations.

Cr Roper said it was hoped the rate rise next year would be down to about the cost of living.

Chief executive Dave Barry said Alpine Council had “broken the mould” by putting the same pressure on itself as one might expect in private enterprise.

“The council has issued a clear indication that the savings are to be used to minimise future rate rises and deliver key community infrastructure,” Mr Barry said.

“Since coming into the role six months ago, I have seen consistent recognition from the council and staff that we can do things better, faster and more cost-effectively by reducing red tape, using technology and focusing on what matters.”

Mr Barry said steps had been taken this year to save $1 million to $1.5 million by the December 31 deadline.

“I am not aware of any rural Victorian council taking such proactive steps in addressing the reality that, like any modern council, we cannot continue to let rates rise when we have the cap-acity to deliver the same core services at a lower cost,” he said.