Council adopts ‘back to basics’ budget

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A renewed focus on basic infrastructure maintenance, including greater investment in urban and rural drains and looking after the Shires parks and gardens headline Councils 2022/23 budget.

Council tonight adopted the $37.2M budget, which includes a $16.8M capital works program and 1.75% rate increase as set by the Victorian Government.

Mayor, Bernard Gaffney said the additional investment in drains and flood mitigation is a direct result of the community feedback received during the development of the draft budget.

“We received the highest ever amount of community input into the budget build and we heard loud and clear from our community its desire for Council to get back to basics.”

“We’re putting an additional $200,000 into improving rural and urban drains, bringing the total investment to $470,000.”

The $16.8M capital works program is made up of $7.7M in new project allocations and $9.1M in projects already funded in previous years budgets, but have been carried forward into 2022/23. A significant portion of the carry forward funds is associated with the completion of large multi-year grant-funded projects including the Chiltern Community Hub, Beechworth to Yackandandah Rail Trail and the Indigo EPIC Mountain Bike trail.

Cr Gaffney stressed that the budget does not include any new money for cycling infrastructure.

“We’re investing in services that enhance the Shire’s liveability, amenity and future sustainability, including $3.1M on waste management service delivery and facilities, $1M on parks and gardens, $656,000 to deliver library services and programs, $553,000 on initiatives to support our early years programs and services, $221,000 on initiatives to support our young people.”

Cr Gaffney said Heritage continues to be a high priority with capital works scheduled for the completion of the Beechworth Historic Precinct Courthouse Kelly Trials Experience, works at Chiltern Athenaeum, Platelayers Cottage renewal, and the painting of historical buildings.

“A range of other important issues addressed in the budget include caring for our community, growing our visitor economy, growing our towns, updating and maintaining community facilities, supporting local sporting and community groups to improve facilities, caring for our environment, and investing in our roads, drains, bridges and footpaths,” Cr Gaffney said.

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