Byron budget Q&A

BYRON Shire Council is encouraging interested residents to attend a community meeting about how the council plans to use ratepayer's money during the upcoming financial year.

Council staff will be on hand at the council's chambers in Mullumbimby between 4-6pm tomorrow to answer questions from residents about the 2012-13 draft budget.

Community members are invited to drop in any time between 4-6pm to get the information they want about the budget.

"Council will raise about $65,000,000 in the coming financial year. About $40,000,000 of that, or roughly $1250 for each resident annually, is spent on community infrastructure," the council's general manager, Graeme Faulkner, said.

"With that money Council has to maintain and repair roads, parks, gardens, and sports fields. It has to provide rubbish collection, sewerage treatment and drainage.

"This is quite a small amount of money to do so much. As one example, it can cost about $3,000 to properly repair one pothole. The community, through their rates, and the council on their behalf, are asked to pay for a lot compared with what is raised.

"That's why we want community members to have their say on spending our limited resources in a sustainable way. By working with the community, we can ensure we prioritise spending on the infrastructure and services that are important to residents."

Mr Faulkner said council staff had prepared a community summary of next year's budget to help residents make sense of the paperwork.

"We appreciate the budget papers are complex, so we hope the community summary helps residents understand the parts of the budget that are likely to be most important to them," he said.

The draft budget is on exhibition for public comment for a period of 28 days from May 5, 2012 to June 5, 2012, and may be inspected at Council's Community Access Points throughout the Shire and on its website.