This first draft budget of the new council term strikes a balance between being fiscally responsible with identified key savings while continuing to deliver on community priorities.
The proposed rate increase is 2 per cent, in line with the Victorian Government rate cap, but the drop in the waste management charge means an overall increase of 0.6 per cent for the average residential ratepayer.
It includes a $20 cut to the household waste management charge which is due to the community’s good work in reducing waste following the introduction of the three-bin system.
Our focus continues to be on the transformation of our city heart while we continue to lobby and attract investment for our priority projects of Logic and Bonegilla Migrant Experience.
And we continue to invest in our neighbourhoods with funding to maintain our community assets including buildings, recreational facilities, reserves, playgrounds, footpaths and cycle networks.
Significant items in the draft 2017-2018 budget include:
- $6.4 million for the construction of High and South streets and Bond St;
- 3.1 million for the road renewal program;
- $1.1 million for the renewal of community assets;
- $3.2 million for the renewal and investment in our recreation facilities including the development of a new Regional Cricket Hub (subject to funding);
- $1 million for new footpaths and paths renewals, drinking fountains and seating;
- $420,000 for playground renewals and upgrades;
- $360,000 for pedestrian crossing upgrades;
- $200,000 for public toilet upgrades;
- $130,000 for the tree planting program; and,
- $110,000 for street lighting upgrades.
The budget includes no new borrowings and the 10-year plan has proposed rate rises of 2.5 per cent from 2018-2019 onwards, well below the long-term average of the past 16 years of 5.33 per cent and previous forecasts of 4.25 per cent.