AS THE cost of living continues to rise, Leetons hire ratepayers are in for another rate hike in the 2019-20 financial year.
At last Wednesday night's ordinary meeting, Leeton Shire Council formally approved its draft budget and fees and charges, which is now on public exhibition for the community to give their thoughts and opinions on.
Along with its planned capital works program, council also outlined what its rates would be, as well as other planned fee increases.
Residential ratepayers can expect to pay an extra $12 per quarter, according to the base rate which has been set at $464 compared to $452 in the 2018-19 year.
For businesses the base rate has been locked in at $311, compared to $299 in the previous year, and for farmland it will be $729 in 2019-20, which was $702 in 2018-19.
Council has also applied a three per cent fee increase to road closure applications, easement negotiations and searches for information.
Council's manager of finance Jackie Hawkins said many of the fees were being brought into line with the appropriate standards in place.
"Inspection fees for health regulation have also been made consistent with hairdressing salons being charged the same as beauty salons and food premises," she said.
"The same fee applies to noxious weeds certificate and class one and 10 building inspections.
"The proposed fee is $165 per hour with a minimum fee of $105."
Two new construction certificate fees have been introduced, as well as extra inspection fees for subdivision and infrastructure works.
In terms of capital works, council will be working to complete the Leeton pool upgrade, the Leeton Showground grandstand rebuild, enhancement projects in Wade Avenue and Chelmsford Place and fixing the Whitton-Darlington Point bridge.
The Whitton Waste Transfer Station and the Wamoon Sewerage Treatment Services work is also scheduled for completion by the end of the 2019-20 financial year.
General manager Jackie Kruger said council was also working on developing Vance Estate and working on affordable housing options in Leeton and Whitton.
"Given the drought, council has not advanced a special rate variation at this time," she said.
"Rates will only increase by the 2.7 per cent rates cap.
"Council's resources will need to be stretched a little more to establish the new WCIC building."
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