Published: Thursday, March 28, 2019
A significant investment in roads, traffic management around schools and sporting and leisure facilities are some of the highlights of Council’s 2019/20 Draft Budget.
The budget was released for community feedback at a Special Council Meeting on Tuesday 26 March.
Council’s 2019/2020 Budget is $272.1 million which includes an operating budget of $199.4 million and a Capital Works Program of $72.7 million.
Mayor Lawrie Cox said the City of Whittlesea would also keep to the rate cap with a 2.5 percent increase applied to the total amount of rates collected.
Cr Cox said setting the Budget was always a challenge.
“We do have limited financial capacity and we are trying to achieve as much as we can for our residents while being conscious of the rising cost of living. It’s always a balancing act where we can’t do everything so we have to prioritise,” he said.
Cr Cox encouraged residents to check out the budget and provide feedback.
“I am proud of what we have been able to achieve this past year and I’m looking forward to seeing some new initiatives which will really make a difference in our residents’ lives such as our investment in roads” he said.
Council’s operating budget includes:
- $12.22 million to provide services, programs and activities and enable older people to live independently in their homes
- $9.07 million for provision of family and children services
- $4.89 million contribution to provide the Regional Library Service
- $3.45 million for traffic management services, including school crossings and community education programs
- $5.74 million for public health services and programs delivered to protect and enhance community health, safety and wellbeing
- $2.28 million for supporting local youth services.
Some of the capital works highlights of the 2019/2020 City of Whittlesea Budget include:
- $4.1 million for construction of Findon Road extension from Williamsons Road to Danaher Drive
- $8.9 million for signalisation of the intersection at Ferres Boulevard and Findon Road
- $9.7 million for Mill Park Leisure development
- $2.48 million for Mernda Recreation Leisure Centre
- $1.37 million for pavilion at Painted Hills Recreation Reserve
- $1.19 million for Norris Bank Recreation Reserve masterplan
- $1.64 million for construction of Edgars Creek Community Activity Centre
- $1.1 million for ongoing program for upgrading playgrounds and general landscape
- $3 million for developing an All Abilities Play Space in Mill Park.
In addition to the annual 3% increase in residential waste charges, there will be an extra fee of $14.50 per household to help recover costs paid by Council to process recyclable materials.
Cr Cox said the fee was due to industry changes which mean Council not only loses $900,000 in revenue from contractor purchasing of recyclable materials, but also incurs additional costs of $1.1 million per annum for processing/disposal of recyclable items. The proposed $14.50 increase is to recover the additional $1.1 million in costs only.
“We held any rises for the first year and are not going to pass the full cost of this service on to our residents but we do need to increase charges slightly this year to offset some of this,” he said.
“But we have managed to keep the waste charge increase significantly lower than most other Victorian councils, who are facing the same challenges.”
Council has also released the Draft Council Plan 2017-2021 (Update 2019) A place for all, which includes the Draft Council Action Plan 2019-2020.
The submission form and copies of these documents are available online, at the Council Offices, 25 Ferres Boulevard, South Morang or at local libraries.
Public comments and submissions can be received until 5pm Friday 26 April.
Submissions can be lodged from Thursday 28 March:
- emailed to email@example.com
- sent to Locked Bag 1, Bundoora, MDC, 3083; or
- delivered to Council Offices, 25 Ferres Boulevard, South Morang.
An Advisory Committee of Council will hear submissions at a later date.
The Budget, Council Plan Update and Council Action Plan are scheduled to be adopted by Council at a Special Council Meeting on Thursday 6 June.