Draft Budget 2023/24 to go on public exhibition
Published on 16 May 2023
Indigo Shire has tonight endorsed its draft 2023/24 budget which will now be placed on public exhibition for the next 21 days.
In endorsing the draft, Councillors acknowledged the challenges of delivering a break event result, given the current financial climate where inflationary pressures are having a huge impact.
Mayor Cr Sophie Price says while the budget is tight, it will not impact Council’s ability to deliver quality services to the community as well as a significant capital works program and investment in the maintenance and renewal of vital infrastructure, including sealed and unsealed roads, footpaths, drains and bridges.
“In preparing this draft, we’ve had to balance current economic factors that are beyond our control, with ensuring that we are meeting the needs of our community, largely expressed through our pre-budget community engagement.” Cr price says.
“We had 315 responses to our pre-budget survey, with the feedback very similar to that received in 2022/23 with a strong focus on core service delivery. Overwhelmingly, respondents want Council to focus its spending on maintaining and improving existing infrastructure such as roads, drains, footpaths and community buildings.”
Council’s $17.6M capital works budget is one of its biggest and includes $11.4M of new projects, including funding to construct the Rutherglen Wine Walk Cycle Trail, which is fully funded through a $5.1M Federal Government grant. There’s also $6.2M in carry forwards to complete projects already approved in previous years’ budgets.
Included in the program is:
- $2.7M to maintain roads, bridges, footpaths and drains
- $1.23M to reseal priority rural roads and re-sheet gravel roads.
- $700K to improve urban and rural drains
- $529K for bridge renewal and improvement works
- $350K to upgrade the female change rooms at Barkly Park (subject to state government grant of $1M)
- $300K towards construction of pump tracks at Tangambalanga and Wahgunyah (State Government also contributing $300K)
- $170K to progress the Kiewa River Community Park improvements
- $100K for public toilet improvements
“Council is proposing to increase rates and municipal charges by 3.5% which is in line with the rate cap set by the State Government and waste charges will go up in line with CPI. We know that the rate rise will impact some ratepayers more than others and assistance is available for anyone experiencing genuine financial hardship,” Cr Price said.
“Like all Councils, we’re facing increasing costs that exceed our income. We’ve had two years of rising inflation, but the government-imposed rate cate has not kept pace with CPI, creating a widening gap between our revenue and our costs.”
“Many of our existing contracts, such as waste management are indexed to CPI, which is running at around 7.8%. Labour and material costs are also rising in line with inflation, but our ability to raise additional income is severely restricted by the rate cap, which for 2023/24 has been set at 3.5%.”
“Taking all this into consideration, we believe this draft budget reflects strong prudent financial management that meets the targets set out in our Long-Term Financial Plan ensuring our long-term financial sustainability,” Cr Price concluded.
Also on exhibition, is the Council Plan 2021-2025 Year 3 review. Community members have until 5pm on Tuesday 6 June to make a formal submission.