Ararat Rural City Council’s 2019/2020 Budget and its revised Council Plan 2017-2021 have both been adopted by Councillors at a meeting last night.
Council Mayor Cr Peter Beales said both the budget and Council plan are important strategic documents that guide the organisation’s plans and activities for the year and beyond.
Cr Beales said Councillors were pleased to present the two documents to the public.
“The Council Plan is the foundation for everything Ararat Rural City Council will strive to achieve over the next three years, providing a solid strategic framework as we conduct our day-to-day business,” he said.
“The 2019/2020 Budget includes more than $14 million worth of capital works, a decrease in staff wages, and turning an underlying deficit into a surplus. This year’s budget is all about investing in the community and we’ve taken the organisation back to basics to ensure this happens.”
Some of the budget highlights include:
- $14.689 million on capital works including:
- $350,000 for the Elmhurst Hall redevelopment;
- $400,000 for female-friendly amenities at the Willaura Recreation Reserve;
- $750,000 for upgrades to the Buangor-Ben Nevis Road;
- $909,000 on bridge upgrades;
- $50,000 on rural halls upgrades.
- A $534,000 reduction in the salaries budget.
- A surplus of $3.214 million with an underlying result of a $155,000 deficit, an improvement from the deficit of $3.873 million last year.
- A doubling of grants to hall committees and recreation reserves to $58,600.
- $959,763 for arts, culture and heritage.
Cr Beales said the budget includes a 2.5% rate rise, which is in line with the State Government’s Fair Go Rates System, which caps Victorian local government rate rises to 2.5% each year. This comes after a zero rate rise last year.
“Council is mindful to keep rate rises within the cap but it is important that rates rise by 2.5% each year to ensure inflationary impacts do not erode our capacity to manage recurrent expenditure or deliver infrastructure and services to the community,” he said.
Cr Beales said the Council Plan is built on a strategic direction that aimed to ensure the community is at the forefront of everything the organisation does, whether it is grading a road, providing Meals on Wheels, setting rates or building a new community facility.
Some of the new initiatives included in the Council Plan include:
- Developing township strategies for Willaura and Pomonal.
- Seeking sector partnership for the redevelopment of the McDonald Centre in Ararat.
- Completing the Active Links Project in Ararat (Alexandra Oval and the Ararat Skate Park lighting).
- Holding a cultural festival in 2019/2020.
- Advocating for the Ararat Regional Park Mountain Bike Track.
You can download a copy of the ARC Council Budget by clicking here.
You can download a copy of the ARC Council Plan by clicking here.