Meander Valley Council delivers measured budget amidst rising costs of service

Posted on June 29, 2023

Council's 2023-24 budget "a challenging one to deliver"

Meander Valley Council adopted its 2023-24 budget at a special meeting of Council on 27 June.

Mayor Wayne Johnston said that financial pressures for ratepayers and the significant rise in the cost for Council to deliver services had made this year’s budget a challenging one to deliver.

“These are difficult economic times for many sectors and despite budgeting for an operating loss, we have elected to absorb some of the rising costs to minimise the impacts on our ratepayers. That said, Council must still act to remain a viable business and provider of services.”

Council’s budget incorporates a $16.4m capital works program that includes renewal of road, bridge and stormwater infrastructure, new intersection designs for Meander Valley Road at Hadspen and the development of new footpaths along Church Street in Carrick.

New community recreation infrastructure also features, as does a number of projects carried over from the previous financial year including the development of the Deloraine Squash Courts and progression of the Deloraine Racecourse Recreational Precinct.

Investment in more sustainable waste management is also a major consideration. Mayor Johnston said the cost of waste management to Council has continued to rise.

“The price of comingled recycling disposal has increased from $160 per tonne to $310 per tonne within a short period of time. We have absorbed some of these costs and will be operating our waste facilities at a loss this year, but despite this we have still been unable to avoid increasing the waste management charge.”

“We have made a significant investment in waste in this year. Upgrades to the Deloraine and Cluan facilities will include the development of a weighbridge and other infrastructure to support residents to sort more and help them manage the costs associated with disposing of their household waste.”

“We have worked hard to deliver a budget that is as equitable as possible and the increase to our general rate will be 7.9%. However, we will still be delivering services with a manageable deficit of $730,200 for the 2023-24 financial year. This reflects not only increased costs but the legacy of the zero-rate increase applied during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this, Council remains in an enviable financial position with a return to surplus in forward years.”

Meander Valley Council currently has the lowest average general rate in the north of the State and the second lowest in Tasmania and it is anticipated that this will continue in the 2023-24 financial year.

More detail about this year's budget can be found in the minutes of the 27 June, Special Meeting of Council