Supporting the community through the coronavirus pandemic is at the heart of Surf Coast Shire Council’s Draft Budget 2020-21, which is open for submissions.
Adopted at a Special Council Meeting on Tuesday 28 April, the draft budget demonstrates Council’s commitment to delivering important services and infrastructure, and supporting the community in this uncertain time.
Mayor Rose Hodge said a total allocation of $1,768,000 for COVID-19 support in 2020-21 was included the draft budget, adding to $400,000 already earmarked for the current financial year. The COVID-19 Support Package – which was adopted as a separate item at the special meeting – spearheads the budget along with Council’s plan to deliver a record $30 million of capital works in the 2020-21 financial year.
“The draft budget was prepared during the COVID-19 outbreak and meant we had to adapt quickly to make sure we could support businesses and community groups, and help them recover and re-establish post-pandemic,” Cr Hodge said.
“Our purpose as a Council is to help our community and environment to thrive, which is more important than ever in these challenging times. This budget will support Council to continue to be flexible and responsive to meet the needs of the community.”
The budget includes a proposed rate increase of 2 per cent – aligning with the rate cap set by the Victorian Government. The annual increase in rate revenue is essential for Council’s future viability, and ability to support the community and meet its aspirations now and into the future.
Cr Hodge highlighted the community’s passion on the recycling challenges of 2019, and Council’s strong leadership response.
“Planning continues for a new kerbside waste service, which will feature a shire-wide introduction of a fourth bin for glass and a food organics and gardens organics collection following the success of the Anglesea pilot,” she said. “We look forward to the launch of the new waste service, expected to be early 2021.”
With the current waste service to be in place for majority of the financial year, Council proposes to maintain the current arrangement of different charges for urban and rural customers for 2020-21, with both charges to increase by 2%.
A total $8.45 million is allocated in the draft budget for roads upgrades, maintenance and renewal, and the road safety program ($322,500).
The unprecedented $30 million of capital works features about half of the spend ($14.56 million) on new projects, while the program also includes projects that are already underway such as the $13.5 million Surf Coast Multi-Purpose Indoor Stadium in Torquay and the $6.6 million Stribling Reserve Pavilions Redevelopment Project in Lorne.
Key projects in the Draft Budget include:
Lorne Transfer Station Upgrade $1.6 million
Modewarre Netball and Tennis Pavilion $318, 621
Zeally Bay Road Car Park Upgrade, Torquay $277,750
Barwon River Adventure Play Space, Winchelsea $267,000
Hendy Main Rd – Sealed Road Renewal (Barrabool Rd to Princes Hwy) $258,000
Environmental Leadership Program $250,000
Bellbrae Reserve Playground Renewal $202,000
McMillan Street Car Park Upgrade and Renewal, Anglesea $194,900
Concept design for a Cultural Facility and Library, Torquay $180,000
Disability Discrimination Act Implementation Plan $100,000
Moriac Structure Plan $85,000
Deans Marsh Community Hall Kitchen Refurbishment $60,000
Allen Noble Reserve Water Sensitive Drainage Renewal, Aireys Inlet $35,000
Deputy Mayor Clive Goldsworthy said Council’s long-term financial sustainability continues to be built on strong savings via three business reform programs – Digital Transformation, Business Improvement and Business Case Investment.
“These three reforms resulted in a further $600,000 of ongoing savings in the 2020-21 budget,” Cr Goldsworthy said. “It’s heartening to see the community benefit from these programs, including the new online kinder enrolment system and the transition of over 100 customer forms being able to be submitted online by June 2020. Both of these are part of Digital Transformation which aims to improve the customer experience.”
The Draft Budget 2020-21 is open for submissions until noon Thursday 28 May 2020. People can complete the online submission form at www.surfcoast.vic.gov.au/budget