Ratepayers in Launceston may face a 2.8 per cent rate increase for the coming financial year, as well as a $1.1 million deficit if the council approves it proposed budget.
The City of Launceston councillors will discuss whether to approve the budget at its meeting on Thursday. It is the same increase the council raised its rates by in last year's budget.
Mayor Albert van Zetten said he was pleased the proposed general rate increase was under Tasmania's December CPI figure of 2.99 per cent, and was considerably lower than the local government cost index of 3.38 per cent.
He said the council was in a strong financial position and was budgeting for a comprehensive surplus of $3.8 million in 2019-20.
"However, the council is also budgeting for a $1.1 million underlying operating deficit," he said.
Changes to the dividends, such as TasWater and others, are partly to blame for the deficit, the council said.
Cr van Zetten said it was never ideal to have an operating deficit, but an increase in waste disposal, recycling and processing costs of just under $1.4 million and stormwater and sewer costs had contributed.
"The increase in waste fees and kerbside collection costs are due to significant cost increases associated with changes in the way the recycling market now operates," he said.
"This cost increase is not a problem for the city of Launceston alone. Unfortunately, all councils across Australia are grappling with the financial pressures associated with waste and recycling charges."
A 140-litre bin will now cost residents $145.70, which is a rise of more than $40. The council will also discuss its capital works program worth more than $25 million at the meeting.
Nearly $6 million will be spent on road upgrades including a budgeted $1.5 million for upgrades to the Goderich and Lindsay street intersection.
About $4.2 million will be spent on upgrades to UTAS Stadium to resurface the field. The sand-based surface is nearly 20 years old and normally has a life of 10 years, with the council saying it is only through the skill of its staff that it has been able to be maintained for so long.
For the Northern suburbs, a $240,000 public toilet upgrade is proposed for Ravenswood and $80,000 on CCTV for Mowbray.
On-street parking meters are set for $500,000 upgrades and off-street parking venues, such as the Paterson Street West car park, are getting $415,000 in the draft plan.
- $700,000 for parks and playground upgrades
- $350,000 for QVMAG stage one collection audit and digitisation
- $1m Churchill Park upgrades, and
- $250,000 for Paterson Street West car park parenting room upgrade.
The Greater Launceston Plan will be reviewed, a regional recreation strategy framework developed, the cultural strategy and the implementation of the CBD wayfinding will also be completed.
Part of St John Street will be redeveloped, along with planning for stage two of the City Heart project and a Launceston Heritage List review.
My Place My Future stage two will be implemented, along with the River Health Action Plan. The Traffic Signal Project, the Launceston Transportation Strategy and the St Leonards master plan are also budgeted for.
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