Budget announcements for Shepparton, Strathbogie

By Rodney Woods

Greater Shepparton City Council and Strathbogie Shire Council have recently announced their budgets for 2018-19, with farm rates major talking points out of both.

Strathbogie has reduced its farm rate differential by nearly three per cent to 82.5 per cent, while farmers who live in Greater Shepparton will pay 90 per cent of the general rate or a collective pool of $7.6million in rates for the next financial year.

Strathbogie Shire Mayor Amanda McClaren said the change in her council’s budget represented the impact farmers had on the shire’s economy.

‘‘We have reduced the farm rate differential from 85 to 82.5 per cent of the residential rate to acknowledge the contribution our farmers and agriculture sector makes to our local economy,’’ Cr McClaren said.

‘‘The 2018-19 budget provides for a capped average rate increase of 1.9 per cent, significantly under the state government’s imposed rate cap of 2.25 per cent.’’

In comparison, Greater Shepparton City Council has capped its rate increase at 2.25 per cent, in line with the government’s ruling.

In other funding news, Strathbogie Shire Council has committed more than $6million to roads, with $400000 of that committed to the shire’s Zero to One Roads Program.

‘‘We upgraded some of our zero class roads to a road one standard for more regular maintenance,’’ Cr McClaren said.

‘‘We have also committed over $2million to maintenance and replacement of bridges and culverts across the shire, which will allow us to remove some of the load limits currently placed on some of our bridges, allowing for a more efficient freight network.’’

The Shepparton council has invested in roads and bridges as well, with $450000 for bridge renewals and $13.2million for roads, of which $9.4million is for renewals and $3.5million is allocated for upgrades.

Shepparton saleyards to receive overhaul

Improved trade waste infrastructure, new stock-friendly matting and resurfacing are all on their way for Shepparton Regional Saleyards.

Shepparton’s saleyards are predicted to turn a promising surplus in the next year, according to Greater Shepparton City Council’s new budget: $411000 in the 2018-19 financial year.

A $360000 contribution will see upgraded trade waste treatment infrastructure, $342000 will pay for resurfacing around the truck wash while $138000 will permit the installation of non-slip matting.

Meanwhile, interest has been sought for management of the site for the next five years, starting next year, after the existing management contract finishes at end of the year.

City engineer Phil Hoare said the trade waste system upgrade was primarily to ensure ‘‘what we do is environmentally acceptable’’ and to ‘‘make sure the system we’ve got there is efficient in dealing with that’’.

Mr Hoare said the existing surface around the ‘‘highly trafficked’’ truck wash area of the site had ‘‘badly deteriorated and degraded’’ and the upgrade funding was about ‘‘making sure that it is fit for purpose’’.

Meanwhile, the replaced matting had animal welfare outcomes in ensuring the flooring was ‘‘much gentler on the stock,’’ and would stop animals ‘‘from slipping and injuring themselves,’’ Mr Hoare said.

On the horizon, he said the site would be an ideal council asset at which to install solar panels to help manage power costs.