Council approves 2022-23 Annual Budget

Published on 16 June 2022

A capital works program totalling more than $18 million headlines the City of Launceston's 2022/23 annual budget, which was unanimously endorsed at today's ordinary council meeting.

The Council has announced a general rate increase of 3.75 per cent in 2022/23, in line with the Council's Long Term Financial Plan.

Today's announcement is the first rate rise for Launceston for two years for ratepayers after the Council elected to freeze rates in 2020/21 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Launceston Mayor van Zetten said today's general rate increase was well below the CPI rate of 5.1 per cent, and that the Council had budgeted for an underlying deficit of $3 million for 2022/23.

Mayor van Zetten said work is now being carried out to revise the Council's Long Term Financial Plan, with a view to returning to a small underlying surplus in the 2025/26 financial year.

For the first time, Council rates include a new Waste Levy, which all local governments in Tasmania will collect on behalf of the State Government. Launceston's waste management charges will increase by $22.20 for a 85 litre bin, $22.45 for a 140 litre bin, and $27.55 for a 240 litre bin.

The previously free FOGO collection service, which costs Council approximately $780,000 a year to collect and process, will this year incur a $25 collection fee per household.

Under the new State Government Waste and Resource Recovery Act 2022, Councils will pass on a service charge of $9.60 to each rateable property.

This new levy will be shown on rates notices as a separate line beneath the State Government Fire Service Contribution charge. Capital projects proposed in the budget include $800,000 to upgrade the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery's popular children's activity centre, the Phenomena Factory, $8.5 million for road, footpath and trail upgrades and $1.3 million for parks and playground upgrades.

"As a local government authority, it's important that we always seek to balance the challenges faced by our community with the need to maintain the wide array of services and facilities our community relies on," Mayor van Zetten said.

"With a rate increase well below CPI, and a significant capital works program aimed at maintaining and upgrading existing assets, the Council has attempted to strike this balance at a time when many households are facing cost of living pressures and we think this budget achieves just that."

Mayor van Zetten reminded ratepayers that the Council had a Rates Hardship Policy, which was developed to assist home owners who were suffering genuine financial hardship.

"As a Council, we frequently enter into payment arrangements with property owners and I would encourage anyone who is facing genuine difficulties paying their rates instalment to contact Council," he said.