3% Launceston council rate increase

LAUNCESTON aldermen urged people to understand the council had costs too as it voted to increase rates and charges at yesterday's meeting.

The report by finance manager Paul Gimpl and corporate services director Michael Tidey proposed council rates increase by a baseline fee of 3 per cent.

Alderman Rosemary Armitage questioned the jump of 48.3 per cent to $307 a year for commercial vehicle permits.

Parking operations manager Andrew Frost explained the increase would ensure the price was in between those of Devonport and Hobart.

"We were incredibly cheap for a commercial permit," Mr Frost said.

Alderman Armitage also questioned the jump in price for various Carr Villa charges.

Exhumations at Carr Villa rose 79.5 per cent to $2500.

General manager Robert Dobrzynski explained the council had reviewed core and non-core functions of the council.

Robert Dobrzynski

Robert Dobrzynski

"Not a lot of local governments undertake a crematorium," he said.

"If the council can't at least break even ... one would have to question why we were competing with the private sector in undertaking services.

"We need to ensure our prices represent the full cost."

The crematorium is operating at a $350,000 deficit at a significant cost to ratepayers.

Other increases included a cost of $2.30 to park at one-hour street meters and $1.80 for 60 minutes at three-hour meters and a $1 increase on average to most dog registration fees.

Alderman Rob Soward noted the community angst that follows rates and charges increases.

"We need to be better at telling people why things go up," he said.

"None of us like increasing fees and charges and we know there have been tough economic times in the past 12 months.

"I think it's really important in this argument we highlight as a council our fees are often higher than this," he said.

Fees and charges make up $18.5 million of the council's budgeted operating revenue.

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