The proposed council budget for 2016-2017 is inclusive of a 3.5 per cent rate increase as per the rates variation application which council made to the Essential Services Commission, to raise the rates above the capped 2.5 per cent. This increase would allow a number of council initiatives to go ahead.
“If council isn’t successful in receiving the rate cap variation, the draft budget for 2016-17 will be adjusted prior to adoption,” said Mayor Allan Comrie.
According to Mayor Comrie, if the council’s application isn’t successful, the New and Upgrade Program will be reduced by $400,000.
The projects proposed to be removed from the New and Upgrade program are the Masons Lane western pavilion design works, costed at $75,000, and the Station Street ‘Urbanisation’ at Maddingley, with kerb and channel / shared paths works valued at $325,000.
Whilst the impact of an unsuccessful rate cap application will only have a minimal impact in 2016-17, the council noted that rate capping will have a greater impact in future years including the threats to council’s Financial stability if it continues to generate operating budget deficits on an annual basis; cuts to services and capital works over time to ensure council’s Financial sustainability; reduction in funding available for New and Upgrade projects; and reduction in funds available for the asset renewal program.
A number of increases in fees and charges are also imposed, including animal registration fees, food registrations, septic tank installation fees, transfer station charges and non-residential fees.
The increased charges will allow the council to continue current services and fund a number of new initiatives, including:
A $9.112 million asset renewal program forms a significant part of the capital works budget, with:
- $6.155 million being spent on road rehabilitations
- $1.408 million on plant replacement
- $850,000 on bridges, drains and recreation / leisure assets
- $478,000 on footpaths and cycleways
- $221,000 on buildings
Further to this, $8.348 million has been allocated to New and Upgrade capital projects to be implemented across the municipality. As part of this program, a number of major projects will be funded:
- Halletts Way / Western route Southern extension $5.885 million (overall $10 million project)
- Bacchus Marsh Racecourse Reserve Sporting Facilities $1.000 million (part of an overall $12.993 million project)
- Ballan Depot $150,000 (part of an overall $5.745 million project)
The full Proposed 2016-17 Annual Council Budget can be found at www.moorabool.vic.gov.au where you can also find out how to make a budget submission. The deadline for submissions is Tuesday 7 June 2016.