Warrnambool City Council last night approved its 2019-2020 budget which features a $19.4 million capital works program.
The budget also included a 4.5 per cent rate rise, which was two per cent above the cap imposed in December last year by the Victorian Government.
The additional two per cent rate rise was approved by independent Victorian Government authority, the Essential Services Commission (ESC).
The capitals works program includes:
Road renewals $4.1 million
Lake Pertobe Master Plan implementation (Stage I) $2.9 million
Saleyards roof $540,000
Reid Oval $10 million
Smart (low energy) street lighting $1.4 million
Small Infrastructure Fund $353,000
Art Gallery climate control $600,000
Beach access (Point Ritchie-Moyjil) $190,000
“Councillors considered carefully whether to seek the rate variation above the cap and then whether to act on the recommendation of the ESC,” Mayor Cr Tony Herbert said.
“The independent assessment of the ESC as well as an assessment by Deloitte provided irrefutable evidence of the need for the rate cap variation while also identifying the need for Council to continue with its own internal review of its operational efficiencies.
“In the end Council felt it was significant that with the ESC endorsed our intention to set money aside to maintain and upgrade our assets including roads, bridges, footpaths and playgrounds.
“We have seen in recent years the need to invest in asset renewal as some of our key infrastructure nears the end of its useful life or needs to be upgraded to meet the needs of a growing city with 35,000 residents.
“This year for the average household it will mean paying an extra $31 a year, or 60c a week, above the 2.5 per cent increase.
“All of the funds raised through the rate cap variation will be put towards asset renewal and not to the ongoing day to day costs of Council.
“Importantly, we will still be able to deliver major projects the community has asked for including a renewal of Lake Pertobe and the redevelopment of Reid Oval.
“These are two of several projects for which Council has been able to obtain external funding support to complement a contribution from Council.”
Each year the budget provides support to key local and regional groups and organisations including:
Community Development Fund $63,500
South West Regional Arts $12,000
Brauerander Park $10,000
Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism $150,000
Warrnambool Surf Life Saving Club $31,000
Deakin University scholarships $28,000
Schools and cultural support $6,750
Warrnambool Coast Guard $5,000
“Council will continue with its efficiency initiatives over coming years,” Cr Herbert said.
“Later this year we will undergo an organisation review and we will also focus on sharing services across neighbouring municipalities.”
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