Draft budget for 2021-22 released

Southern Grampians Shire Council has released its Draft 2021-22 Budget, Revenue and Rating Strategy and Pricing Register and are now seeking public feedback.

The Budget is a rolling four-year plan that outlines the financial and non-financial resources that Council requires to achieve the strategic objectives described in the Council Plan.

While last year’s Budget was designed to respond to the devastating impact of COVID 19, this year’s budget reflects a renewed focus and commitment to growth, renewal, and the delivery of projects and services.

The draft budget is now available for public comment, to be adopted by Council on 23 June 2021.

In 2017, Council developed an aspirational yet deliverable Council Plan (2017-21), following extensive consultation with the community. Over the past four years, Council has worked to turn these plans and aspirations into reality and this 2021-22 Budget finalises much of that work.

The key initiatives outlined in $67.403m 2021-22 budget include:

• Deliver the Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy as adopted by Council including landfill, transfer stations and collection initiatives;

• Complete detailed design and commence construction of Melville Oval Stage 2 CBD project;

• Continue the next steps in the feasibility of a new Hamilton Gallery;

• Continue the delivery of priority improvements of recreation and leisure facilities in response to the findings of the Recreation and Leisure Strategy;

• Develop revised Advocacy and Partnership Priorities and an implementation approach, generally in accordance with feedback collected through community visioning work;

• Implement an investment attraction program that focuses on the key industries of agriculture, manufacturing, retail, tourism and the digital economy;

• Invest in the appropriate systems, processes and training to support an environment which delivers a seamless customer experience; and

• Create the capacity to leverage and deliver Federal and State Government stimulus initiatives.

A Capital Works program of over $22 million sees a major investment in roads, bridges, footpaths and associated infrastructure works. Highlights of the Capital Works program for the 2021-22 year include:

• Continued significant investment into local roads, bridges and other Council owned infrastructure;

• Deliver on the CBD revitalisation plan by completing the endorsed Cox Street redevelopment;

• Deliver the approved major upgrades at Pedrina Park Sporting Facility ; and

• Implement works associated with Council Buildings Asset Management Strategy.

For the 2021-22 year, the State Government, under the fair go rates system, has set the rate cap at 1.5%. The cap applies to both general rates and municipal charges and is calculated on the basis of Council’s average rates and charges.

The draft Budget for 2021-22 therefore proposes income raised by all rates and municipal charges will be increased by 1.5% or $0.286 million over total 2020-21 revenue to $19.486 million.

The municipal charge will increase from $203 to $206. Service charges will not increase this year.

Southern Grampians Shire Council Mayor Bruach Colliton said the 2021-22 budget had been developed with community recovery in mind and encouraged the community to provide feedback.

“This first budget of the current Council, elected last October has been developed to ensure our financial position remains sustainable while supporting the community through a range of initiatives and projects, following a difficult 12 months.

“We understand that our community has high expectations of us and what we deliver for their rate dollar so it is important that we continue to identify efficiencies and review all activities against community identified priorities”, Cr Colliton said.

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