Ratepayers could face increases
RATEPAYERS in the Ballina shire are likely to face more rate rises as the council struggles to operate and maintain new assets.
The council's manager of finance and governance, Peter Morgan, in his report on the 2010/11 annual financial statements, wrote expenditure from the general fund had reached "unprecedented levels" over the past five years.
"In addition to 'normal' expenditures, council has constructed or is in the process of constructing the Lennox Head Community Centre, Ballina Community Centre, coastal cycleway, upgraded Alstonville/Wardell town centres, commenced construction of a major new road at Wollongbar and developed the Ballina Art Gallery," he wrote.
"We have committed to constructing a new surf club at Ballina, a coastguard tower, designing a surf club at Lennox Head, designing a regional sports centre, upgrading Ballina town centre, constructing a coastal walkway and purchasing sports fields at Lennox Head and Wollongbar."
Mr Morgan reported ratepayers would be "left with an impost to operate and maintain these assets" because there were no new funding sources.
He "conservatively" estimated annual operations and maintenance costs would rise by several hundred thousand dollars.
The "sheer magnitude" of new assets being created in a short space of time was one of the problems, he wrote.
"It is difficult to gauge the real impact of these decisions and it is a matter of concern as to how council's operational budget will cope with these additional imposts going forward ... it may be that further rate rises or changes to service levels are necessary," Mr Morgan wrote.
Submissions on the financial reports can be made until November 16.
- Income from rates and annual charges: $29 million.
- Investment revenues: $4.5 million.
- Total revenue from ordinary activities: $86.9 million.
- Employee expenses: $18 million.
- Expenses for materials and contracts: $20.9 million.
- Total expenses: $67 million.
- Net operating result for 2010/11 financial year: $19.2 million; up from $3.73 million in 2009/10.