COOK Shire mayor Peter Scott said councillors last week adopted a “responsible” budget, with almost $100 million in projected costs, more than $70 million of which is expected to be funded by grants.
Cr Scott said the budget took into account the rising costs of living, with a general rate rise of three per cent.
“Council is very conscious of the current cost of living pressures, and has worked hard to ensure a responsible budget that continues to deliver essential services to a high standard, while reducing costs wherever possible,” the mayor said.
“The $100 discount for prompt rates payments will remain and council has also kept interest on overdue rates the same as last financial year, instead of raising it around three per cent in line with legislation.”
More than $55 million will go towards operational projects, including $3.1 million for community services such as pool, libraries and parks.
Security was among the priorities listed in the budget, with $30,000 slated for grants aimed at encouraging investment in business security upgrades, such as security cameras.
The council also allocated $20,000 to subsidise the cost of dog de-sexing, a $30,000 grant program for innovative environmentally-sustainable projects and $20,000 for an economic development portal aimed at investors.
Cook Shire’s $21.7 million capital works program includes more than $20 million worth of projects carried over from the previous financial year, and just over $19 million worth of funded projects.
“Council has a difficult task in delivering services at the current level, or better, with a limited rate base, while keeping those rates and other fees as low as possible,” Cr Scott said.
“To do this, council officers have worked extremely hard to manage ongoing costs and identify efficiencies to ensure costs are kept to a minimum.”