Rates to rise by 1.75 per cent

Elsie Lange

Macedon Ranges ratepayers are likely to pay a 1.75 per cent increase in rates next financial year with the council to spend $40 million on capital works.

The increase is in line with the state government’s rate cap, up from the 1.5 per cent rise from 2021-22.

The bulk of the draft budget goes to continuing work on the Macedon Ranges Regional Sports Precinct (MRRSP), which recently received a $15 million commitment from the federal Liberal and Labor parties.

The council has also taken out a $10 million loan to fund the MRRSP, which is due to be finished by the end of 2023.

Other key projects include further design and continued construction of the 24-kilometre Macedon Ranges Shared Trail from Woodend to Riddells Creek and planning work on the Daylesford to Hanging Rock Rail Trail.

Mayor Jennifer Anderson said the rate increase was not made lightly.

“We are reluctant to add further financial burdens to our community who are already under economic and social stress,” she said.

“Every year the budget process becomes more complex with rising costs, an increasing population to provide services to, and additional requirements from federal and state governments.”

While rates are increasing, garbage and recycling charges will remain steady, despite a rise in the state government EPA Victorian Waste Levy charge.

The draft budget said that among the factors considered by the council was “cost shifting” by the Victorian and the federal government.

The Macedon Ranges budget also provides funding for planning on the Woodend Racecourse Reserve Master Plan, the Gisborne Futures Planning Scheme Amendment, Romsey Structure Plan and an Equestrian Facilities Plan.

The draft budget was adopted unanimously at last week’s council meeting.

Consultation closes on May 25, with the budget expected to be finalised in June.