Council's budget alterations to be re-exhibited

Council's fees and charges for water and sewer in 2020/21 will be reduced from the planned increase of 5 per cent to 2.6 per cent and the changes re-exhibited.

These charges were planned to increase by 5 per cent each year, for the next five years but Cr Robyn Bain pulled the costs back to the rate peg of 2.6 per cent for 2020/21 at the last council meeting on Wednesday, May 27.

It was part of a bigger discussion on rate rises into the future.

Council staff had proposed rate increases of about 8 per cent (plus 5 per cent rises in water and sewer costs) in the three years 2022/25 but a motion by Cr Tony Allen saw the rate rises replaced with the potential return of the pools Special Rate Variation instead.

Council's general manager Leanne Barnes said the reduction of income in the water and sewer fund would affect the income for 2020/21.

"It will change water and sewer income projections. This will also have an impact on our investments," Ms Barnes said.

"There is potentially less from water and sewer to be placed into reserves which are used to build up funds to provide infrastructure. The reserves are invested and the returns then used in the relevant water or sewer programs."

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"Staff are working through the changes that have to be made and will provide an update to councillors at the finance briefing. We are considering releasing the updated information following the resolution from the last meeting and extending the period of public exhibition," Ms Barnes said.

The result will also mean a bigger deficit for the financial year against the projected budget.

Council staff had projected a deficit of $8.2m in the general fund for 2020/21, offset by positive figures in the water and sewer funds to produce a deficit of $5.5m in council's consolidated fund.