A move just up the road could see first-home buyers enjoy two years of free council rates.
Strathbogie Shire will waive two years of rates for people who are eligible for the State Government’s First Home Owners Grant to try to attract them to buy their first home in the shire.
Strathbogie Shire encompasses towns such as Nagambie, Avenel and Mangalore.
It was one of the ideas from a series of council ‘conversation cafes’ with residents, and it is hoped the offer will encourage new home buyers to move to the Shire.
‘‘It’s an initiative that is innovative and we’re the only council to do this. We’re looking at growing our shire and how we do that,’’ Mayor Amanda McClaren said.
‘‘What we’re looking at is, the first home buyers will be eligible for $20000 through the State Government grant and if they come and move to Strathbogie Shire they will received two years rate free. They’ll still have to pay for the services and the fire services levy and that sort of thing.
‘‘On an average home in Euroa or Nagambie, if they got the State Government grant and no stamp duty for under $600000, and then rates free for two years, it’s a saving of around about $30000 to $40000.
‘‘We’ve only attracted a few first home buyers in the past and we have a shire with a more mature demographic so we’re looking to encourage younger people to move to the shire. This is growing and building the shire, so this is rates we don’t already get so that’s how we factored it in.
‘‘The idea came from one of our community members during our ‘conversation cafes’. So we took the idea away, we liked it and we thought we would investigate. We modelled it and we were very happy to run with it. It was only one of a number of amazing initiatives coming from our ‘conversation cafes’.’’
Some of the other ideas were for the shire to become plastic-bag free, and to become a ‘welcome refugee’ shire.
So how is Strathbogie able to do this and keep within the two per cent rate cap increase?
‘‘We’re actually in a very good financial position,’’ Cr McLaren said.
‘‘Our council a couple of councils ago made the hard decisions to plan for the future, and through the management of our staff, particularly our CEO with some restructures and some innovative programs that he’s undertaken we’ve managed to work within the two per cent rate cap.
‘‘We have a zero increase in our expenditure going forward which is significant for the Shire.’’
●Read more about Strathbogie Shire Council’s 2017-18 budget and 2017-21 Council Plan on page 8 of today’s Telegraph.