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Have your say on council budget

Campbells Creek Trail

Council is seeking feedback on its 2019/2020 Proposed Budget.

Wednesday 17 April 2019

Mount Alexander Shire Council is seeking feedback on its 2019/2020 Proposed Budget, which was adopted last night at an Ordinary Meeting of Council.

The $43.63 million budget outlines the resources needed to deliver more than 100 services to the community and maintain and improve vital infrastructure like roads, bridges and footpaths.

Overall rate income will increase by 2.5%, in line with the Victorian Government’s Fair Go Rates System. As properties are now valued annually some rates will increase by more than 2.5%, while others will increase by less.

Kerbside bin collection charges will increase by an average of 3% per property to maintain rubbish and recycling services at existing levels.

The proposed budget will deliver $16.72 million of capital works (including carry-forwards). Council is looking to secure around $4.46 million of grants from the State and Federal Governments to help deliver these projects.

Key projects of the proposed 2019/2020 capital works program:

$5.40 million on roads:
The roads program includes rehabilitation at Sutton Grange, North Harcourt and Barkers Creek, along with the annual road resealing and gravel road resheeting program.

$2.44 million on bridges: Council is seeking funding from the Federal Government to replace bridges at Froomes Road, Castlemaine and Eagles Road, Harcourt.

$1.60 million on footpaths and trails:
Footpaths will be renewed and constructed along William, Forest and Ray streets near Camp Reserve, to link the McKenzie Hill growth area, along with completion of the Campbells Creek Trail.

$2.26 million on community buildings:
Includes floor replacement at Castlemaine Library, conservation works at the Market Building, and renewal of facilities at the Maldon Visitor Information Centre and Maternal and Child Health Centre.

$1.01 million on recreation facilities:
Includes design of female friendly change rooms at Harcourt and Bill Woodfull recreation reserves and construction the change rooms at Harcourt as well as minor renewal works at Council’s outdoor swimming pools.

$1.19 million on drains and flood levees: Includes completion of drainage works at Saint Street, Castlemaine and initial works to reduce the impact of flooding at Campbells Creek and Castlemaine.

$863,000 on playgrounds: Includes construction of a new play space at Stanley Park North, Harcourt, upgrade to the Victory Park playspace and a replacement playground near Westend Hall in Castlemaine.

$1.41 million on plant, equipment and technology:
Includes a water tanker and other equipment to assist improve our roads network.

The proposed budget includes new and continuing projects including:

Aged and disability services – Continue to provide the Home Support and Community Care program during Federal reforms ($2.35 million).
Streetscapes – Continue works to improve streetscapes in our towns including Maldon, Harcourt, Taradale, Elphinstone, Chewton, Campbells Creek, Guildford, Newstead and Castlemaine ($523,000).
Early Years – Continue to implement the Early Years Plan and deliver the State Government funded Supported Playgroups Program ($93,900).
Equity, access and inclusion – New role to help meet legislative requirements regarding access, discrimination and human rights ($35,440) and complete upgrades to improve access and amenities in community buildings ($162,500).
• Phee project – At Home residency program to allow local creatives the chance to activate the Phee Broadway Theatre ($21,000).
• Trees and vegetation – Maintain street trees to reduce public safety risks ($155,000), manage our significant trees at the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens ($50,000) and roadside weeds ($44,000).
• Recycling – introduction of a trial of recycling bins in public spaces to reduce waste to landfill ($20,000).

Deputy Mayor Tony Cordy said it’s been a thorough process to develop the budget and community feedback is important.

“We’ve met with and listened to our community and their priorities have certainly influenced our budget for the year ahead,” said Cr Cordy.

“I would encourage everyone to read through our budget. If there’s something you feel strongly about – whether it’s something we’ve missed or something you strongly support – we’d appreciate your feedback,” he said.

“People are often surprised at the breadth of services Council delivers – from managing roads, footpaths, buildings, parks and gardens, to monitoring the health of new babies and supporting vulnerable residents to remain independent in their home.

“Councillors are continually working with staff to review and improve processes and identify efficiencies. We’re also working behind the scenes to advocate for funding from State and Federal Governments for important community infrastructure and services.

“Delivering services in a sustainable way is a priority, and that’s what you’ll see in this budget.

“I would like to acknowledge the efforts of staff who have worked with Councillors to put this budget together,” he said.

The proposed budget and budget summary is available on Council’s website at www.mountalexander.vic.gov.au/HaveYourSay. Printed copies are available at the Civic Centre in Castlemaine, Castlemaine Library, Newstead Rural Transaction Centre and local visitor information centres.

To make a submission please forward a letter to the Chief Executive Officer, Mount Alexander Shire Council, PO Box 185, Castlemaine VIC 3450 or send an email titled 2018/2019 Budget Submission to info@mountalexander.vic.gov.au.

Submissions close at 5.00pm on Wednesday 15 May 2019. If you would like to speak to your submission at the Special Meeting of Council at 5.00pm on Wednesday 21 May, please indicate this in your submission.

Key dates:
• 12.00pm, Wednesday 17 April: Proposed budget goes on public display
• 5.00pm, Wednesday 15 May: Closing date for public submissions
• 5.00pm, Tuesday 21 May: Hear submissions at a Special Meeting of Council
• 6.30pm, Wednesday 12 June: Council to consider the 2019/2020 Budget for adoption at an Ordinary Meeting of Council.

Image:Completion of the Campbells Creek Trail is included in Council’s proposed budget, subject to external funding.

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