Alpine rate rise one of lowest in region

Alpine Shire residents will receive one of the lowest rate rises in north east Victoria as a part of its draft budget for 2010/2011.

If adopted, residents will receive a 5% average rate rise which is expected to be well below the state average. Since 2002 Alpine Shire has averaged its rate rises at just under 5% per year, compared to the state average of 7.1%.

The draft budget’s main feature is a $5.7 million Capital Works Program that includes several significant value adding projects for the whole of the Alpine Shire. Council will contribute $150,000 towards the construction of a new Early Years Centre at the Bright P-12 College.

Other highlights of the Capital Works program include

  • Sealing of the Stanley Road between Myrtleford and Beechworth ($322,000). This will allow a further 50% of the remaining unsealed section to be sealed.
  • Kiewa Valley River Walks including $50,000 for Ryders Lane, $15,000 for Mount Beauty’s river trail and support for DPI ‘Go Fishing’ project at Tawonga’s Fisherman’s Track.
  • Re-development of Bright Sports Centre ($150,000)
  • Development of former Myrtleford police station site
  • Roof renovations at Myrtleford Hall ($100,000)
  • Substantial road resealing program across the shire that ensures Alpine Shire’s roads remain in as good condition as any rural shire in Victoria ($399,000)

CEO Ian Nicholls said Council’s responsible economic management was the main reason behind the modest rate rise.

“The modest rate rise is the result of sound economic judgment and management,” he said.

“The rate increase has been kept in line with the rating strategy adopted by Council in February 2009. The Capital Works program will help boost tourism and options for the community. The sealing of Stanley Road between Myrtleford and Beechworth will improve access to the Alpine Shire. The Kiewa Valley River Walks will be a major boost to the region and something the community will embrace. The Murray to the Mountains Rail Trail has shown us how important walking and riding tracks are to the community.”

Mr Nicholls added that existing service levels would be maintained while some new initiatives would receive funding.

“We have gone through a rigorous process of consultation and review in developing this financially responsible budget,” he said.

The community has until 30 June to comment on the budget that will be available on Council’s website under public exhibition.

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