Planning and finance
Councils manage substantial finances to enable them to provide a wide range of public services and maintain considerable public infrastructure.
In order to finance their activities, councils are granted certain powers to raise funds, particularly through the levying of municipal rates. Councils also receive grant funding from the Federal and State governments for municipal purposes.
To ensure the responsible management of resources under their control, and to provide public accountability, councils are required by law to undertake various planning and reporting functions. Exercise of these functions includes public consultation.
Typically rates generate about half of a council’s income; fees, charges and fines about 18%; Grants Commission 8%; general and specific purpose grants about 14% each. A variety of sources, including bank interest, asset sales, donations, contributions and reimbursements makes up the remainder.
Planning and budgeting
In order to best use limited resources to provide effective local government and services for the community, councils regularly prepare Council Plans, Strategic Resource Plans and budgets. These are prepared in consultation with the community.
Council finances require responsible management to ensure that the organisation can continue to operate and serve the community as well as ensuring that financial imposts on the community are stable and fair.
Paying council rates
Councils levy municipal rates on property owners annually. The Local Government Act provides the framework for how councils set and collect rates and charges.
How rates are calculated
Property values affect the amount paid in municipal rates. State legislation requires that all properties in every municipality are revalued every two years.
Special rates and charges
A council may levy a special rate, or special charge to help pay for any council service or activity that will be of special benefit to a particular group of property owners.
After the end of each financial year, every council prepares an annual report which reports on the financial and other results for the financial year, as well as providing an overview of the councils operations and achievements during the year.