Macedon Ranges rates and charges to rise by $89

Rates and charges for Macedon Ranges property owners will increase by an average of $89 under the council’s proposed budget for 2018-19.

The proposed rise of 4.2 per cent for average rates and charges will encompass both higher costs generated by the global recycling crisis and a rate increase of 2.25 per cent.

The council plans to significantly increase the waste service charge – which is separate from rates – to cope with the higher charges from waste collectors following China’s decision in January to raise its standards for the quality of recyclables it accepts.

The council has been covering those costs in the short term, but is planning to pass future costs on to residents.

The new waste charge will likely result in a $49 yearly rise in kerbside collection charges for the average ratepayer.

The council is in the process of negotiating a new contract for waste collection, but said the increased waste charge reflected the market cost of having kerbside waste collected, transported, treated and recycled.

On top of the waste charge hike, the council proposes to increase rates by the maximum amount permitted under the legislated rate cap of 2.25 per cent.

In the past financial year, owners of property with an average value of $584,026 paid $2105 in rates and charges. Under the proposed budget that will rise to $2194.

The council will generate almost $48.4 million from rates, municipal charge and waste service charges under the 2018-19 budget – almost $2.5 million more than in the past year.

But the council’s expenditure on materials and services will increase by $1.5 million, predominantly because of the recycling issue.

The council’s salaries and wages will increase by $900,000, which is being mostly attributed to enterprise bargaining agreement wage rises and salary band increases. Staff numbers are expected to remain at a similar level to those of 2017-18.

The council is taking feedback on the draft budget until May 22.

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