Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council hold off on presenting budget to public

Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council acting chief executive officer John Coombe.

Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council acting chief executive officer John Coombe.

Community members of the Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council will have to wait until July for their opportunity to have a say on the draft budget. 

At Monday night’s general meeting, councillors voted to let the draft budget lay on the table until July 1. 

This decision follows a lack of advice from state treasurer Tom Koutsantonis with regard to flood funding claims which council had put forward.

Council have applied for $4.3 million funding from the state government, on top of the $1.8m in funding allowance from council. 

CGVC acting chief executive officer John Coombe said council was loath to go to the public with a document that may need to be changed.

Mr Coombe also said council had not received feedback from the sporting bodies involved with the Clare Oval Precinct Redevelopment in regard to their financial stance. 

He said council had approached the sporting bodies involved to ask they give an indication as to what they can commit to and how much. 

The project is estimated to cost about $10m in total. 

On top of this, due to a recent spike in rural property valuations, Mr Coombe said this would see a reassessment of rating proposals. 

“Something that is fair and reasonable for everyone,” Mr Coombe said. 

Primary production land valuation for 2017-18 shows an increase of 19.4 per cent compared to only 2.2pc for residential. 

“We would be looking at doing some rate modelling to flatten that out as much as we can,” he said.

“...Council does a review into rating to make it equitable across all areas.” 

Mr Coombe said elected members would put forward their ideas for the draft budget and bring them to the table in early July. 

“I think they have adopted a very responsible attitude to ensure that the backlog of work, due to the floods, is attended to,” he said.

Following the storms in September, council had completed a small amount of remedial work to damaged roads.

Council was unable to fully complete these works until insurance funding is finalised – if it completed it, council was ineligible for the money. 

“Council acknowledges the understanding of the community and ratepayers in that we can’t go out there and tend to those problems, we are ineligible for the funding if we do.”

A rate increase of 3.9pc is expected. 

“That is subject to further discussions from council members and feedback from the community.” 

Mr Coombe said it was hoped council would discuss the draft budget in early July and then seek public comment. The budget needs to be adopted by the end of August.