Pensioner rebate axed in budget

HOPES for the return of Blacktown Council's 50 per cent rate rebate for pensioners have been dashed.

Recently voted to be reinstated from July 1, the rebate is set to be axed again after the council revealed its draft 2014-15 budget last week.

The draft budget will go on public exhibition for residents to have their say with the budget set to return to the council for adoption on June 25.

In his budget delivery speech, Liberal councillor Karlo Siljeg sad the reintroduction of the 50 per cent rebate meant an additional cost to the council of $1.30 million in 2014-15.

The savings will be allocated to fund much needed asset renewal works.

Councillor Siljeg said the budget reflected a council prepared to tackle difficult and sensitive issues in the short-term for the greater good of the city and its people.

"Blacktown Council is well placed to meet these challenges and to leave a lasting legacy," he said.

Other budget features include:

- An additional $390,000 for the repair and maintenance of the council's playgrounds.

- $115,000 additional funding to continue existing cleaning levels for neighbourhood and community centres.

- An additional $289,000 for maintenance of soccer fields at Blacktown International Sportspark.

- A four-year funding strategy to maintain support for Blacktown International Sportspark after the state government axed its funding share.

- $23.4 million for capital works on the council's road network.

"It's up to the public now," Labor councillor Stephen Bali said.

"If the community doesn't rally and have their say, they're not going to change the council's mind."

The budget is scheduled to be on public exhibition from tomorrow, May 7, for 28 days.

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