Council adopts ‘challenging’ draft budget

Published on 27 May 2020

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Indigo Shire Council has adopted its draft Budget for 2020/21, with the Mayor describing it as one of the most challenging the Council has had to prepare.

Cr Jenny O’Connor said the impact of COVID-19, the uncertainty of when restrictions will be fully lifted and the true extent of the economic fall-out has created a difficult environment in which to prepare a 12-month budget based on any real certainty.

She said Council has had to take into account a number of assumptions around predicted loss of income as a result of the impact of COVID-19 and offset this with savings in some areas, without impacting on service delivery.

The draft budget outlines a total operating income of $34.597M with total expenditure of $30.876M, including $10.771M in capital works program.

Rates are proposed to increase by 2%, in line with the Victorian Government rate cap, which represent a $42.81 per year, or 0.82 cents per week extra cost to the average home. Domestic waste charges will increase by 2%.

“This budget enables us to continue to deliver the range and quality of services our community expects, from road construction, maternal and child health services, libraries, town planning, actions to protect and enhance our environment, providing leisure facilities, waste services and much more.”

“As a small rural council, we rely heavily on grant funding, which is one the avenues that we will pursue in the hope of securing additional state and federal funds for our shire, particularly to support our businesses to recover from the double blow of bushfires and COVID-19, Cr O’Connor said.

“We’ve also included a $200,000 fighting fund for a business recovery strategy to assist with post COVID-19 economic recovery.”

“We are acutely aware that some businesses and residents will struggle to pay their rates in the new financial year and we encourage these people to consider the measures outlined in our Fire and COVID-19 support package and also our hardship policy.”

Cr O’Connor said, “This is a budget that will be constantly reviewed and adjusted accordingly throughout the next 12 months. We will continue to keep our community informed and we ask for your understanding and patience as we all work through these unprecedented times.”

“What we can be certain about, is a number of projects that are predominately externally funded, will continue in 2020/21 and will play a vital role in our recovery.  Work will continue on the $6M Beechworth to Yackandandah Rail Trail and the $2M EPIC Mountain Bike Track.

Our Capital works program also includes $2M in road infrastructure improvements, $880k for renewal and upgrades works to a number of our heritage buildings and $1.9M (some grant funding pending) for parks, open space and recreational facilitates across the Shire. 

The draft budget also includes funding to undertake the following:

$1.2M 

Beechworth Tennis Courts *

$784K 

Beechworth to Yackandandah Epic mountain bike trail

$456K 

Annual resealing program shire wide

$220K 

Tangambalanga land purchase

$120K 

Bridge renewal works shire wide

$113K 

Wahgunyah to Moodemere trail approvals for stage 3

$60K 

Rural road drainage program shire wide

$30K 

Beechworth Swimming Pool Feasibility Study

$30K 

Rutherglen Place making Plan - (Future Focus of Place making)

$20K 

Framework to assist council with climate emergency declaration and implementation of action plan

 *subject to Government funding.                           

The draft budget will now go on public exhibition and the community will be able to make submissions until close of business on Friday 26 June 2020.

A final version will be considered by Council at the July ordinary council meeting.

 

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