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Council adopts budget for year ahead

Road grader on unsealed road.

Council has adopted its $37.07 million budget for 2018/2019.

Wednesday 27 June 2018

Mount Alexander Shire Council has adopted its $37.07 million budget that includes funds to provide more than 100 services to the community and an investment of more than $11.3 million in capital works.

“Councillors have worked to create a responsible budget that focuses on efficiencies and clear priorities outlined in our Council Plan,” said Bronwen Machin, Mayor of Mount Alexander Shire.

The 2018/2019 budget includes nearly $4.5 million investment on roads and bridges, $3.43 million on buildings and community facilities, $903,000 to address drainage, $456,000 on footpaths and trails and $1.24 million on plant, equipment and technology.

“We know that it is challenging with the available resources to manage all our facilities to the standards expected by our community, but we have carefully allocated funds and will continue to actively lobby for additional support from state and federal governments,” she said.

Overall rate income will increase by 2.25%, in line with the Victorian Government’s Fair Go Rates System. As this is a general revaluation year, some rates will increase by more than the 2.25%, while others will increase by less. The municipal charge has been removed in line with the updated rating strategy and this will also affect how rates are distributed between ratepayers.

Kerbside bin collection charges will increase by an average of 5.4% per property to maintain rubbish and recycling services at existing levels.

“The waste charge reflects the rising cost to manage waste, which includes the ongoing global challenge of recycling and the cost to rehabilitate landfill cells at the Castlemaine waste facility,” said Cr Machin.

Capital works highlights include:

Roads – $3.6 million program includes more than $1.5 million for road works as part of the grant-funded Roads to Recovery program, and $1.6 million for resealing roads and resheeting gravel roads.
Buildings – $3.43 million to improve facilities across the shire including $1.73 million to complete stage 2 at Wesley Hill Recreation Reserve with a new multipurpose pavilion as well as the installation of flood lights at Doug Powell Oval ($400,000). $326,000 to construct a new play space at Victory Park and $50,000 of works to the Phee Broadway Theatre.
Bridges – $829,000 to renew bridges on Campbells Creek-Fryers Road and complete investigation and design works at other locations still to be confirmed.
Footpaths – $395,000 for footpaths and streetscape improvements in our towns. Council will continue to lobby for more government funding and upgrade disabled parking spaces to meet Australian Standards ($86,000).
Drainage – $903,000 to implement improvements to the drainage network, including Moscript Street in Campbells Creek and Saint Street in Castlemaine.

The proposed budget includes new and continuing projects including:
Early Years – Implement Early Years Plan and deliver the State Government funded Supported Playgroups Program. ($96,000).
Trees - Undertake data collection on park trees to ensure the safety of our trees ($120,000), while continuing the street tree planting program ($40,000).
Road maintenance – Additional road base materials for road sealing maintenance ($80,000).
Planning for the future – Prepare a Developer Contribution Plan for Harcourt ($40,000) and update the Maldon Design Guidelines using in-house expertise.

“Rates help us to deliver a wide range of valued services for our community from managing local roads, community buildings and parks, to checking the health of new babies and helping older residents to remain living at home,” said Mayor Machin.

“We know that the community values council services and we will continue to be innovative and find ways to deliver ongoing value for money”.

Council received 28 public submissions on the draft budget following a five week consultation period. The final budget includes an increase in funding to Castlemaine Art Museum (now $30,580) and Buda Historic Home and Garden (now $12,000) in recognition of the economic benefits these popular attractions bring through tourism. Council will also provide an additional $15,000 to the Castlemaine State Festival to support the redevelopment of the Goods Shed.

“Thank you to everyone who took the time to review and provide feedback, support and suggestions for the budget,” said Cr Machin.

“Preparing a Council budget that meets the needs of our community is a big job, but we’re confident that we’re delivering a strong and responsible plan for the year ahead,” she said.

The full budget is available on Council’s website. Printed copies are available from the Civic Centre in Castlemaine.

Image: $3.6 million of Council's $37.07 million budget will go towards local roads.

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