Pressure on for Valley rates hike

DERWENT Valley Council rates are almost certainly going to be increased when councillors hold a special budget meeting next Thursday.

Having not raised rates last financial year due to Covid-19, the council will be under financial pressure to increase ratepayer fees to fund its capital works plan for the next year.

Last month, Mayor Ben Shaw said the council was continuing to look at projects which needed funding as a priority.

“I can’t comment or preempt rate increase or percentages as that will be a decision of council but I know we are committed to making sure we have ratepayers ability to pay at front of mind,’’ Mr Shaw said.

“But as a growing community our needs for infrastructure, roads, parks and community facilities to be the best they can be will continue to grow, therefore we need to be financially responsible and meet those growing demands.’’

Most other councils in Tasmania have announced increases, with most being about 2.5 per cent.

The dilemma of balancing rate increases, funding essential demands and ratepayer ability to pay can be helped by the increasing ratepayer base.

With the Valley growing in population and housing construction booming, the number of rateable properties is on the rise. Meanwhile, the council has agreed to slash the cost of food licence fees for the new financial year.

All 110 registered food businesses in the municipality were reviewed against the new Food Business Risk-Classification system, with the new fee schedule set to be introduced in the coming weeks.

“Council continues to look at ways it can support the community in an economically sensible manner and with the increasing costs put on businesses to manage Covid-19 health requirements, these reductions will go toward helping food businesses keep costs down,’’ Mr Shaw said.

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