The City of Ballarat has welcomed the State Government’s announcement this week of a rate cap of 2.5 per cent for all Victorian councils in 2018-19.
Ballarat Mayor Samantha McIntosh said the City of Ballarat had successfully delivered a series of budgets within the constraints of rate capping, and the 2018/19 council budget would be no different.
“We’ve completed key projects and provided essential services within those constraints, and we continue to look for ways to do more with less, reviewing every area of the business to find concessions and savings,” Cr McIntosh said.
However, Cr McIntosh said rate capping had highlighted the need for an overhaul of the way local government is funded.
Cr McIntosh also called on the Victorian government to control the continued rise of state income and taxes which, unlike local government rates, are not matched against the Consumer Price Index.
She said the City of Ballarat remains concerned the state government expects councils to meet the costs of essential services like school crossings, libraries and maternal and child health. The state government funding for these services has continued to be reduced and the cost burden shifted to local government, Cr McIntosh said.
“We understand and support the government’s position of seeking to control the cost of rate rises.”
“Rate capping isn’t the issue – the issue is the inadequacy of the current funding models for the core, community-focused, essential work of local government.”
“Without significant state and federal government investment we will struggle to meet either our vision or our purpose.”
“We need a better share of the tax dollar. From each tax dollar, just three cents goes towards funding local government, 16 cents goes to the State Government and 81 to the Federal Government.”
“We will continue to advocate for our fair share of the tax dollar to ensure that we can meet the needs of a growing city into the future.”