At the June Special Council meeting held last night, Litchfield Council endorsed its draft Municipal Plan and Budget 2020-21 for community comment.
The draft Plan supports the current economic climate, while prudently managing Council’s financial resources.
Litchfield Council Mayor Maree Bredhauer said this budget follows the Rating Policy Review, which will see a reduction in rates for Coolalinga residents making them equal rural residential ratepayers.
“We understand COVID-19 has put pressure on households and we have acknowledged this in the budget. The rates on paper will increase by $60, but Council has agreed to subsidise the rate increase from its financial reserves” the Mayor said.
Ratepayers will not pay more in rates in the next financial year than they did in the last financial year.
To support those in need, Council has revised its Rates Concession Policy and expanded the temporary hardship provision to ensure it captures all ratepayers adversely impacted by COVID-19. Ratepayers can apply for interest write off, deferral of rates or have interest placed on hold.
Key highlights of the budget include over $1 million for Litchfield’s seven Recreation Reserves, $130,000 to continue supporting the community with grants, sponsorship and events and a capital works budget of $6.2 million which includes $2.6 million for the Mango Roads Project.
The draft Municipal Plan and Budget 2020-21 is now out for public comment from today, Thursday 4 June closing on Thursday 25 June 2020.
To view the draft Municipal Plan and Budget 2020-21 and to provide comments to Council, visit www.yoursay.litchfield.nt.gov.au
Quotes from Litchfield Councillors:
Quote from Deputy Mayor Simpson: Increasing rates is a necessary decision to ensure long term financial sustainability for our community. Council is making sure no ratepayer is paying more, eligible businesses receive a concession and our new financial hardship application process for all ratepayers is simple and quick.
Quote from Councillor Sayers-Hunt: It is our mandate as Councillors to make the hard decisions even in difficult times. The hard decision to increase rates by $60 and grant a concession to ratepayers for the same value is in recognition of the impact COVID 19 has had on our economy.
Quote from Councillor Barden: Through good advocacy Council has generated financial support from the Federal and Territory governments to seal roads in our municipality that are important to our mango producers and residents. As these assets are our responsibility, we must contribute financially and cannot afford to have a stagnate income in 2020-21.
Quote from Councillor Salter: Our residents are the biggest asset Council has and we want to protect them from more financial strains this year. After these difficult times we have had to face as a community we couldn’t be prouder looking into 2020-21 supporting our recreation reserves with over $1m and community groups through grants with up to $130,000. Council will continue to advocate on behalf of the community for community services and facilities that will contribute to the vision of making Litchfield the best place to live in the Top End.