Yarra Ranges Council has endorsed its 2020-21 Budget, Council Action Plan and Long-Term Financial Plan for the coming year.
Councillors voted to endorse the documents at their meeting on Tuesday, 11 August, following community engagement on the budget through June and July.
The Budget, Council Plan and Long-Term Financial Plan outline projects and goals to help guide the community recovery from COVID-19 over the coming financial year.
A significant measure in this year’s Budget is a COVID-19 Rates Relief Assistance Credit, which will apply to any increase in a household’s general rates from last year.
Put simply, this means that most ratepayers will not pay more in general rates in 2020-21 than they did for last year.
By increasing rates, but issuing a credit to ratepayers, Council will be able to continue offering its services, programs and building works to benefit the community in the long-term, while supporting the community through the COVID-19 pandemic this year.
Council’s financial hardship eligibility has been opened to any ratepayer, so anyone can apply for assistance with their rates either through a payment plan or deferring rates payments for up to a year.
The Budget also contains a dedicated COVID-19 Community Recovery Fund of $4 million, which will be used for projects across Yarra Ranges to support the community.
The Budget includes spending on services of $3.9 million for libraries, $2.0 million for public pool maintenance, $7.7 million for aged and disability services and $3.9 million for immunisations and Maternal and Child Health services.
In the Capital Works Program, Council will spend $13.6 million on roads, $3.1 million on footpaths, $1.1 million on drainage, and $21.9 million community facilities.