Ensuring the City of Whittlesea is poised to respond to community needs both now and into the future, while maintaining a strong financial position is the focus of the Draft Budget 2022-23.
Now open for community feedback, the $295 million budget which includes an operating budget of $244 million, proposes a significant investment in supporting the local economy to thrive and boosting services to respond to projections of unprecedented population growth.
Chair Administrator Lydia Wilson said it was always a challenge to manage competing interests when allocating funds, but it was important that the Budget took a long-term, strategic outlook as well as catering to immediate needs.
“This year we are proposing a significant investment in key services and projects for our community. We will be upgrading local roads, parks and open spaces, delivering engaging local festivals and events and increasing kindergarten spaces, as well as responding to community priorities identified through our Community Plan and needs arising out of the pandemic,” she said.
Ms Wilson said community feedback had also been strong on the importance of supporting local business and providing an opportunity for jobs growth in the City of Whittlesea.
“In this Budget, Council has proposed a significant injection into economic development activities to enable our local businesses, and in turn our local community to thrive,” she said.
“We are also investing in our Community Leadership Program to ensure we have people ready to be the next elected officials in time for Council elections in 2024.
Council’s budget also responds to significant population growth which is forecast to increase by 61.7% between 2020-40, compared to the State’s forecast of 24.9%.
“We are investing in setting ourselves up to manage this growth and enable us to effectively continue to deliver important services our community expects and needs,” she said.
Council’s proposed $51.57 million 2022-23 capital program resets the approach to capital delivery in a post-COVID environment with a sharp focus on delivering critical new projects and catching up on others which were delayed due to the impacts of COVID on staff and supplies across the construction industry.
“We’ll also be working on getting future projects shovel-ready to ensure we maximise opportunities to partner with other levels of government for funding,” Ms Wilson said.
Council’s proposed budgeted cash result is $15 million, which is proposed to be transferred into a newly created Regional Sports & Aquatic Fund to help fund the delivery of a new regional state-of-the-art centre to support the City of Whittlesea community to lead healthy and active lifestyles.
The Budget also proposes an average rate increase of 1.75% in line with the Victorian Government’s annual rate cap.
Council will continue to significantly subsidise waste charges in 2022-23, with a proposed increase of 13.8% or $15.80.
“We are mindful of the impact any increase has to the bottom line across the community, especially following on from the pandemic so we have chosen to continue our subsidy of waste services for the next four years.
“Our waste charges remain significantly less compared to other councils who are facing similar challenges with the increasing costs of waste disposal as a result of the Victorian Government’s Landfill Levy and the requirement to transition to a 4-bin collection system.
Community Action Plan
Council is also releasing its Draft Community Plan Action Plan 2022-23 (an annual supplement to the Community Plan 2021-25) for public comment.
This document outlines 125 actions to be completed over the next financial year to build towards achieving the Community Plan and ultimately our Whittlesea 2020 goals. These goals are for a Connected Community, Liveable Neighbourhoods, a Strong Local Economy, a Sustainable Environment and a High-Performing Organisation.
Key projects proposed to be delivered in the next year include:
Provide your feedback
You can view the full Draft Community Plan Action Plan 2022-23 and the City of Whittlesea Draft 2022-23 Budget on Council’s Engage Whittlesea website. engage.whittlesea.vic.gov.au
Residents and businesses are invited to provide their feedback until 26 April.
A committee of Council will then meet to review submissions, with the final Budget and Community Plan Action Plan to be presented for adoption at the Council Meeting on 27 June 2022.