THE words 'zero rate rise' are not ones you would associate with Wodonga Council.
The city has traditionally had a reputation for high increases in rates, something which has long been a complaint of Wodonga's ratepayers association.
Councillors acknowledged the drastic circumstances, particularly the hardship being experienced by the hospitality industry, in reflecting on the financial plan.
Councillor Ron Mildren was the only one to hint at the city's reputation for spending and rate rises when he suggested the same level of fiscal responsibility could be shown more frequently.
He also argued that more capital spending could have been backed to boost cashflow within the community.
However, mayor Anna Speedie pointed to works such as Baranduda Fields and a CBD bike hub as examples of infrastructure spending.
Those snubbed through the budget are the city's children and seniors, with 2020 festivals for them scrapped.
Cancelling those events is understandable, given the need for social distancing and the vulnerability of the aged to coronavirus.
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The city is also planning to save costs by opening the Bonegilla Migrant Experience for only three days a week.
This move seemingly contradicts Cr Speedie's faith that there will be a "large swing" to domestic tourism travel.
Given that scenario plays out, having Wodonga's leading heritage attraction less accessible will not encourage visitors.
While the economic heartache rippling through the Border is the primary driver for the budget having a zero rate rise, there is always a political prism to any budget.
In this case the budget allows councillors to sell a popular message to ratepayers.
No doubt they will want 'zero rate rise' to be the focus of voters' minds at October's election when it comes to economic management, rather than the waste levy rip-off.