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Council adopts 2017/2018 budget

Bendigo Sutton Grange Road

Wednesday 21 June 2017

Along with the Council Plan 2017-2021, Mount Alexander Shire Council last night adopted the 2017/2018 Council Budget at its Ordinary Meeting of Council.

“The $37.36 million budget seeks to maintain and improve infrastructure and deliver projects in line with the new Council Plan,” said Sharon Telford, Mayor of Mount Alexander Shire.

“We consistently hear from the community that council services are extremely valued, and that we need to be financially responsible,” she said.

“It’s a difficult task to compile a budget that meets everyone’s needs, while responding to external pressures such as rate capping.”

To meet this goal, rates will increase by an average of 2 per cent under the Victorian Government’s Fair Go Rates System.

The budget also sees the Land Management Rate discount provided to eligible properties increase from 10 per cent to 20 per cent, and a reduction in the Municipal Charge for all properties from $188 to $96. These changes will affect the distribution of rates across individual properties but will not increase overall income derived from rates and charges.

Kerbside bin collection charges will increase by an average of 3.1 per cent per property to maintain rubbish and recycling services – the lowest increase since pre-2010.

“A significant component of our budget this year is for capital work projects, with $12.68 million allocated to roads, buildings, land improvements, footpaths and bridges,” said Sharon Telford, Mayor of Mount Alexander Shire.

“This investment is larger than previous years, and reflects the importance of maintaining and improving community infrastructure,” said Cr Telford.

The capital works program includes:

• Roads - $2.80 million for the rehabilitation, resealing and gravel road re-sheeting program across the shire.
• Buildings – $3.80 million and Land improvements - $1.66 million – Works allocated to buildings and open space improvements across the shire includes $3.15 million for the completion of stages 1 and 2 at Wesley Hill Recreation Reserve, including $1.90 million in grant funding.
• Bridges – $1.17 million for construction and renewal of bridges, including works in Bubbs Lane and Old Drummond Road, and investigation and design works for bridges across the shire.
• Footpaths – $881,000 including $551,000 for design, construction and rehabilitation works in locations such as Templeton Street in Castlemaine, as well as $330,000 for reconstruction of the Campbells Creek and Forest Creek walking and cycling trails.

Minor amendments made to the budget following public exhibition include:

• Reallocation of funding planned for the Maldon Visitor Information Centre to the beautification of Maldon streetscapes.
• An additional $20,000 allocated to the new street and park tree planting program. This will be offset by a $20,000 reduction in the annual maintenance costs of footpaths and trails.
• Deferral of the Castlemaine Library Renewal Project. Council was unsuccessful in securing funds for the project but will continue to seek grant funding.
• Adjustment of 2016/2017 forecasts and the 2017/2018 Budget to reflect the early receipt of 50 percent of the 2017/2018 Financial Assistance Grants ($2.25 million).

The budget also outlines the resources needed to provide more than 100 services to the community in the year ahead and deliver on Council’s vision – Mount Alexander: Innovative, creative, connected.

The Council Budget 2017/2018 is available on the Budget section of Council’s website and printed copies are available for view at the Civic Centre in Castlemaine.

Image: Investment in local roads is a significant component of the 2017/2018 Council Budget.

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