YARRIAMBIACK Shire Council Mayor Graeme Massey said he believes there needs to more discussion about how local government raises revenue beyond rates.
This comes after Local Government Minister Adem Somyurek announced last Friday the 2020-21 cap for Victorian council rate rises would be two per cent.
The cap is a decrease from the 2.5 percent rate cap during the 2019/20 financial year.
Yarriambiack Shire Council is sitting at 2.3 percent for this financial year.
Mayor Massey said it is unlikely council will apply for an exemption to increase their rates, however he expressed concerns about how revenue is raised in rural councils.
“When we put the submission in that the rates review earlier this year, we felt the parameters of their investigation wasn’t broad enough. It should have discussed all means of revenue raising,” Mayor Massey said.
“Whereas as more metro councils have that opportunity of having lots of money through use of their buildings and parking metres, fines. We don’t have that opportunity here.”
YSC relies on rates to make up over half of their budget, while the remainder is acquired through State and Federal government assisted grants.
Mayor Massey said while the rate capping didn’t present a huge issue, if government were to freeze assistant grants it could be a problem for the rural council.
“The rate capping is not an insurmountable problem, however we’d have more problems if government decided to freeze financial assistant grants again. That would be a far bigger issue for us,” he said.
He said he hopes to see other methods of revenue raising be presented among Local Government Areas.
“We would hope out of this rate review that's currently being conducted, there will be some way of looking at the total ways in which local government can raise revenue. Not just rates,” he said.
“We haven’t got the population that warrants for example parking metres. We haven’t got enough people using our swimming pools to get use out of that, we don’t have enough people using our facilities that we could rent out say rooms to rent or use of hall facilities. They just won’t bring in any more money than they do now. Its just a fact of life for us.
“We’d rather not have a rate cap, we’re slightly disappointed but we will cope with it.”