The draft budget outlines a total operating income of $34.538 million with total expenditure of $30.085 million, including a $10.76 million capital works program, and an underlying cash surplus over two years.
Indigo Shire Mayor Cr Bernard Gaffney said the draft budget sets out a financially sound path for Indigo Shire Council whilst still delivering key projects and initiatives for the community.
“We’re pleased to present the draft budget which continues to deliver a range of quality services for Indigo Shire residents, from roads and infrastructure to maternal and child health services, libraries, environment and waste services and much more,” said Cr Gaffney.
Highlights of the draft budget include:
- $10.76 million in capital works including upgrades to roads, drainage and footpaths
- More than $800,000 in sport and recreation facility upgrades
- Removal of spectator fees at Indigo Shire’s five swimming pools
- $430,000 for road resealing across Indigo Shire
- $110,000 for the Beechworth Railway Goods Shed refurbishment
- $160,000 towards the Chiltern Flood Study
- $110,000 on Indigo Creek Park public toilets in Barnawartha
The draft budget also includes $298,000 for new initiatives including:
- $18,000 for an Emissions Reduction Plan
- $25,000 towards place making structure and focus – Yackandandah
- $20,000 for community renewable energy grants
- $15,000 for the Committee Review implementation
- $35,000 towards Roadside Conservation Values Assessment and Mapping
- $10,000 for an Early Years Library Outreach Pilot
- $10,000 for the implementation of the Youth Strategy
- $10,000 to develop and implement a calendar of programs for Libraries
- $40,000 for an Industrial Land Supply and Demand Assessment Report
- $20,000 towards the Rutherglen Wine Cycle Loop Scoping Project
- $30,000 for the Chiltern Destination Playground Scoping Project
- $15,000 to develop the Yackandandah parking strategy
- $30,000 towards a Trails strategy
- $20,000 for a Caravan Park strategy
Cr Gaffney said the delivery of cycling infrastructure is a cornerstone of the draft budget.
“We’re getting on with the delivery of cycling infrastructure across Indigo Shire, with $200,000 for the construction of the Beechworth to Yackandandah Rail Trail between Osborne’s Flat and Beechworth and $130,000 for stage three of the Wahgunyah to Lake Moodemere cycle trail. We’ve also allocated $1 million over two years towards the delivery of the Epic Mountain Bike Trail matching the Federal Government grant contribution.
“The draft budget also proposes funding for a number of key community projects including $220,000 to purchase land in Tangambalanga to open up access to the Kiewa River, $30,000 to develop a shire-wide Trails Strategy, and $15,000 to implement the findings of the Council Committees review,” said Cr Gaffney.
In line with the rate cap for the 2019/20 financial year, Indigo Shire Council’s draft budget proposes a rate increase of 2.5 per cent.
“As a small rural Council, one of the biggest challenges in putting together our draft budget each year is the need to find savings to meet the impact of continued rate capping in conjunction with an increasing demand for services,” Cr Gaffney said.
“It is important to note that, for many Council projects, we rely on external funding and this is reflected in the draft budget, with $6.359 million in grants and contributions to fund our capital works program.
“We hope this draft budget offers the best quality of services for our community whilst maintaining a sound financial position for Council in the years to come.
“For the first time, the draft budget shows income and expenditure at the service level. Community members can also view all proposed capital works projects using an interactive online map. This is a new level of transparency and accountability in the budget planning process at Indigo Shire Council and we believe this, combined with thorough community engagement, will ultimately result in better scrutiny and understanding and therefore improved outcomes for the community.”
At last night’s meeting Council also endorsed its revised Council Plan 2017-2021. Key amendments included the addition of a new action to develop a Reconciliation Action Plan and the broadening of a trails strategy to include cycling, walking and horse riding.
The community will be able to make a submission on the draft budget and the revised Council Plan until 31 May 2019. A final version will be considered by Council at the June 25 ordinary council meeting.