Council adopts 2021-22 budget, Community Vision & Council Plan

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A break-even budget that focusses on rebuilding the local economy, with a big capital works spend are among the highlights of Indigo Shire’s 2021-22 budget.

At the June Council meeting, Council adopted the budget along with the new Council Plan 2021-2025 and 10-year Community Vision as well as a number of other strategic documents.

While the budget focusses on the next 12 months, the Council Plan sets out the key priorities for Council to focus on over the four years of its term.

Under the new Local Government Act 2020, all Victorian Councils must develop a Community Vision, which has an outlook of at least 10 years and describes the community’s aspirations for the future of the Shire.

Mayor Jenny O’Connor said both the Council Plan and the Community Vision have been developed in partnership with the community. “Through drop-in sessions, online feedback, submissions and surveys, we received constructive and well considered feedback from more than 220 individuals and organisations which has been used to shape both documents.”

In adopting the budget, Councillor O’Connor said economic recovery and helping local communities return to a new ‘normal’ have been front of mind.

“We’ll be investing an additional $110K to assist in COVID recovery activities and our capital works budget is one of our biggest ever, with a spend of $15.9M. This increase is largely the result of grant funding to progress a number of major new projects,” Cr O’Connor said.

“These include the Chiltern Community Hub, Wahgunyah Multipurpose Hardcourts and Lighting Project, Kergunyah Hall upgrade and Beechworth Courthouse Kelly Trials Experience as well as a number of road and footpath improvement and safety projects.”

“We’ll also complete the 30km Beechworth to Yackandandah Rail Trail as well as continue to deliver the range and quality of services our community expects, as well as maintain our many community assets and infrastructure.”

The budget also includes funds to support initiatives that address climate change, including progressing the key priorities from Council’s emissions reduction plan, the purchase of a second electric vehicle and implementing more energy reduction initiatives in Council buildings and facilities.

Residential rates will be capped at 1.5% and increases in fees and charges will be in line with CPI.

“We’ve worked hard to deliver a balanced budget, by ensuring that we spend within our means and remain financially sustainable, not just for the next 12 months, but for the next ten years, Cr O’Connor said.

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