Ballina adopts 5.7% rate rise

A RATE increase of 5.7% will be implemented in the Ballina Shire in the next financial year, with approval already in place for the increase above the rate-pegging limit.

It will be the third year of the council's four-year program of increasing rates above the standard pegging limit.

The limit was set by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal in December last year at 3.6%, but councils can apply for special variations (increases) on the limit.

Ballina council also has approval for another increase in 2013/14 of 6%.

The council is currently preparing its budget for the next financial year and a series of financial committee meetings have been planned.

In the first of those meetings this week, the council focused on key financial indicators, a financial plan for the Ballina-Byron Gateway Airport and its property reserves.

A report to the committee stated that the council would be in a better financial position if a "higher proportion of income came from a guaranteed source, such as rates and annual charges".

A low rate base, combined with a large capital works program, is putting a strain on the budget.

"The issue for the (general) fund is the next few years," the report states.

"Cash reserves have reduced, borrowings are on the rise and the operating result is forecast to trend further negative in 2011/12.

"It is fair to say that the fund is vulnerable given the size and number of works proposed."



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