New drainage works in the hills, footpaths to connect urban areas and trail projects across Yarra Ranges are standouts in Council’s Draft 2019-20 Budget.
Councillors voted to endorse the Draft 2019-20 Budget (PDF, 3MB) on Tuesday, 9 April, and begin public consultation, enabling residents to make submissions on the budget and its council priorities.
Yarra Ranges Mayor Tony Stevenson said the draft budget had a number of projects, big and small, in its $78.17 million Capital Works Program to improve the lives of residents and the experience of visitors to the area.
“Our Capital Works Program is usually the part of the budget that catches the eye. The works being done this year on the Warburton Mountain Bike Destination, the Yarra Valley Trail and The RidgeWalk will be supported by the budget, drawing on local funding and Federal and State grants,” Cr Stevenson said.
“It’s also important to highlight the breadth of the works we do and the projects that will make day-to-day life easier for our residents.
“In the hills, we have a number of drainage projects in places like Waratah Avenue in Belgrave, Kallista-Emerald Road and Portman Road in The Patch and Hume Lane in Mount Dandenong, among others areas, which we know are well-needed by residents.
“In our urban areas, we’ll be working on a number of footpaths to better connect residents to town and to their local primary schools.”
Cr Stevenson said Council had a number of projects in this year’s budget outside of the Capital Works Program, including the Place Plan framework, Lilydale Structure Plan, and Council’s Business Transformation Program.
“Our Place Plan framework will help us to work with communities to create blueprints for their towns’ future, like the work currently being done in Warburton,” he said.
“The Lilydale Structure Plan will be coordinating the growth and development for the town’s coming decades. In addition we will continue to focus on making our services easier for residents to use through several initiatives, including improving the online experience for customers, that are part of Council’s Business Transformation Program.”
The 2019-20 Budget will fund Yarra Ranges Council’s delivery of more than 120 services, along with the Capital Works Program, all the while meeting the State Government’s 2.5 per cent rate cap.
This year’s budget provides $3.9m for libraries, $1.5m for youth mental health and counselling, participation and engagement, $1.6m for maternal and child health and immunisation services, $1.6m for services and programs to increase participation in arts, culture and heritage and $1.8m for maintaining aquatic facilities.
Council faces a number of pressures on its finances, such as a reduction in grants and cost-shifting from other levels of government, the rising costs of services, ageing infrastructure in need of maintenance or replacement.
“This means we have to constantly be searching for ways to ensure value for money, finding efficiencies and reducing our costs – an example of this is our work to secure a lower energy rate, while also switching to energy-efficient lamps in our public lighting, to drive down our energy costs and reduce our environmental footprint,” Cr Stevenson said.
“We’ve also had some fantastic successes over the last year, where we’ve advocated to the State and Federal Government and been able to secure significant amounts of funding for local projects, such as the Warburton Mountain Bike Destination, The RidgeWalk, Yarra Valley Trail and several local Sporting and Community Pavilions, among others.
“The 2.5 per cent rate cap applies to the Yarra Ranges’ rate revenue as a whole, so it’s important to remember that, depending on your property valuations, some ratepayers face less than the 2.5 per cent increase, while others may face larger increases.”
Council has been able to negotiate a cheaper price for processing recyclables from kerbside collection and as a result, the waste charge will stay the same. Despite recent pressures on the recycling industry, no recyclables collected in Yarra Ranges will go to landfill.
“I’m glad that we’ll be able to continue providing our waste services for the same price to residents, and we’ll be sharing information about the importance of recycling – and how to get the most out of your recycling service – in coming months,” Cr Stevenson said.
“We will also continue to work with other Councils, the recycling industry and all levels of government to solve some of the long-term issues facing the industry and improve the way recyclables are sorted and processed.”
He said the draft budget reflected Yarra Ranges Council’s Vision and Values Statement which focused on connected and healthy communities, a vibrant economy, quality infrastructure, ensuring accessibility for all abilities and protecting and enhancing the natural environment.
“When putting together the budget, the community is always front-of-mind,” Cr Stevenson said.
“I encourage all residents to have a look at the budget and make a submission if they’d like to have their say.”
Submissions can be made online or in writing to PO Box 105, Lilydale 3140.
Council will consider submissions at a Special Committee of Council Meeting on 4 June, 2019. Submissions are due by 5pm on Wednesday 8 May, 2019.
If you would like to speak to your submission at the Special Committee of Council Meeting, please state this in your submission.
Details about how to lodge a submission are also available on Council’s Draft Budget page or by phoning 1300 368 333.
Please note the figures below only represent funding for the 2019-20 financial year. Some of the projects listed below run over multiple years. For the full Capital Expenditure Program, click here. (PDF, 474KB)
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