Rates are on the rise
Rates are on the rise Veda Dante

Byron Shire Council rates are set to rise

CASH-strapped Byron Shire Council's rates are set to rise by 4.19% or an additional $129 on average next financial year.

The increase includes the 3.4% General Fund rate peg, along with increased charges for areas like waste management, water, sewerage or stormwater management service charges which are not rate pegged, Mayor Simon Richardson said in a statement on Tuesday.

Cr Richardson said the 2013/2014 financial year would begin a process of consolidation with a responsible budget that aimed to deliver key services based on prioritised community needs.

"The past four years has seen significant new assets delivered including the $39 million Brunswick Valley Sewage Treatment Plant, $17 million Byron Regional Sport and Cultural Complex and the $3.75 million Byron Bay library.

"It's now time to focus on our ageing roads and drainage network and look for new ways to help fund the increasing replacement costs.

While the budget falls short of Council's $1 million accumulated surplus target, Mayor Richardson said Council was continuing to look for ways to raise new and recurrent revenues from business units, improve efficiencies and review its property portfolio to capitalise on opportunities to support the recently implemented Infrastructure Renewal Fund

Next financial year will see council have a total operating income of $62.5 million, expenditure at $54.5 million and depreciation at $16.5 million.

Over $6.9 million will be spent on general fund capital works programs, $3.6 million on water fund capital works and almost $1.5 million on sewer fund capital works.

Key projects will include road upgrades at Whian Road, Binna Burra Road, Bangalow Road, Orana Road, Broken Head Road and Natural Lane.

There will also be car parking works at Middleton and Marvel Streets in Byron Bay and the final cycleway link on Ewingsdale Road to the highway.

Council is urging residents to review and comment on its budget at http://www.byron.nsw.gov.au


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