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Council adopts annual budget for year ahead

Bendigo Sutton Grange Road

Council has adopted the 2019/2020 budget which will fund more than 100 services and projects for the year ahead.

Thursday 13 June 2019

Mount Alexander Shire Council has adopted its 2019 – 2020 budget, which will fund more than 100 services and projects to meet community needs now and into the future.

At the Council Meeting on Wednesday 12 June, Council adopted a $43.63 million annual budget including an investment of $16.72 million in capital works.

An operating spend of nearly $27 million will allow council to deliver important services to more than 19,500 residents who call Mount Alexander Shire home.

The budget includes an increase to average rates income of 2.5% in line with the rate cap. Properties are now valued annually so some rates will increase by more and others less.

Council rates fund important services like maternal and child health, home care and social support for older and vulnerable clients, managing our public open spaces and leisure facilities, supporting local arts, culture, tourism and local businesses, and planning.

The capital works budget will cover upgrades and improvements to vital infrastructure like roads, bridges, footpaths, drains and community buildings.

Rate payers will see the waste charge rise by an average of 3% to maintain rubbish and recycling services at existing levels in the light of the global recycling crisis.

Mount Alexander Shire Mayor Bronwen Machin said Council has gone through a thorough process to develop the budget to deliver services in a sustainable way.

“The budget further funds priorities in our 2017-21 Council Plan, which sets out how we will deliver on our vision to be an innovative, creative and connected shire,” said Mayor Machin.

“We are proud to be able to deliver a strong budget while facing continuing challenges such as rate capping, cost shifting and the increasing cost of capital works.

“In addition to funding core services to meet the broad needs of residents of all ages, we have scheduled an ambitious capital works plan to improve community infrastructure,” she said.

More than a quarter of the capital works program is funded by government grants or is subject to government grants, as Council continues to work behind the scenes to source more grants.

“Like most rural councils, we are constantly challenged by the need to provide a variety of valued programs, works and services for our community in a financially sustainable way.

“We need to maintain a focus on our long-term financial position, continue to review our services, and improve processes and efficiencies.

“Thank you to the staff who worked with Councillors to compile this budget. I encourage residents and ratepayers to take a look at the full document or the budget summary,” she said.

The budget and summary are available on Council’s website, and printed copies are available from the Civic Centre and Castlemaine Library.

Read the budget summary.

Budget snapshot

Capital works

Roads ($5.40 million) – Rehabilitation of roads in Sutton Grange, North Harcourt and Barkers Creek, and annual road resealing and gravel road resheeting programs.
Bridges ($2.44 million) – Replacement of bridges at Froomes Road in Castlemaine and Eagles Road in Harcourt.
Footpaths and trails ($1.60 million) – Renewal and construction of footpaths in William, Forest and Ray streets to link McKenzie Hill and Camp Reserve, and completion of the Campbells Creek Trail (subject to external funding).
Community buildings ($2.26 million) – Floor replacement and improvements at Castlemaine Library, conservation works at the Market Building, and renewal of facilities at Maldon Visitor Information Centre and the Maternal and Child Health Centre.
Recreation facilities ($1.01 million) – Build female change rooms at Harcourt Recreation Reserve, design works for Bill Woodfull Reserve in Maldon and renewal works for outdoor swimming pools.
Drains and flood levee banks ($1.19 million) – Complete drainage works at Saint Street in Castlemaine, and initial works to reduce the impact of flooding at Campbells Creek and Castlemaine.
Playgrounds ($863,000) – Construction of a new play space at Stanley Park North in Harcourt, upgrade the Victory Park play space and playground near Westend Hall.
Plant, equipment and technology ($1.41 million) – Includes a new water tanker and other equipment to help improve our road network.

Projects

Examples of new and continuing projects include:
Aged and disability services ($2.35 million) – Continue Home Support Program and Community Care services during Federal Government reforms to the sector.
Streetscapes ($523,000) – Continue streetscapes improvements in towns including Maldon, Harcourt, Taradale, Elphinstone, Chewton, Campbells Creek, Guildford, Newstead and Castlemaine.
Early Years ($93,900) – Implement the Early Years Plan and deliver the State Government funded Supported Playgroups Program.
Equity, access and inclusion ($197,940) – Complete upgrades to improve access and amenities in community buildings, and introduce new role to help meet legislative requirements regarding access, discrimination and human rights ($35,400).
Phee project ($21,000) – Implement At Home residency program to allow creative individuals and groups to use the Phee Broadway Theatre.
Trees and vegetation ($249,000) – Maintain street trees to reduce public safety risks, manage significant trees at Castlemaine Botanical Gardens and roadside weeds.
Recycling ($20,000) – Trial recycling bins in public spaces to reduce waste to landfill.


Image: Council has allocated $5.4 million on improving roads around the shire.


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