Rate rise pressure

LAST week’s monthly Derwent Valley Council meeting was cancelled at the last minute due to the General Manager and some senior staff requiring to self-isolate as a Covid precaution.

The meeting, which is open to the public, has now been rescheduled to be held tomorrow night starting at the New Norfolk Courthouse, Circle St, New Norfolk.

As a result of the postponement, the agenda will not only include usual planning and development items, but also a decision on rate rises for this financial year.

As reported last week in the Gazette, council rates are almost certainly going to be increased.

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.

Other items on the agenda include a recommendation to extend the current New Norfolk Market licence to the current operator at an increased fee.

Council officers have also recommended that the New Norfolk Community and Sports Precinct Master Plan be supported.

“…as a starting point for setting the long-term vision and identifying the key infrastructure projects for the precinct,’’ the agenda said.

It will also seek funding opportunities and partnerships to construct new women’s change rooms at the site.