A series of community and business friendly measures and a proposed rate freeze are central features of Latrobe City Council’s Draft Budget 2020-21. The budget signals Council’s focus on supporting community and business sector efforts to recharge Gippsland’s regional city.
Latrobe City Mayor, Councillor Dan Clancey said key budget considerations included the impacts of reduced tourism and decreased revenue associated with COVID-19 events on the local community. “Council needs to ensure there is sufficient financial capacity to not only be responsive but to provide targeted support to those in the community who have been significantly affected,” he said.
“The Draft Budget 2020-2021 leverages upon work already undertaken in past months. A $1.7 million Business and Community Support Package is included to provide relief for business and community, while a zero per cent rate rise for 2020/21 has been proposed to support ratepayers with their household budgets,” Cr Clancey said.
“It is important that ratepayers understand, however, that while Council has set the draft budget at a 0% rate increase, this does not mean every ratepayer will pay the same rates as they did in 2019/20. Yearly revaluation of rateable properties, undertaken by the State Valuer General, still apply,” he said.
Cr Clancey said the draft budget outlined the financial resources required to implement key directions in Council’s Plan. “It ensures continued delivery of Council’s services at current levels and provides for a proposed significant capital works program of $86.06 million, focused on renewing and maintaining council’s assets,” he added.
New borrowings of $10 million from the State Government’s Community Infrastructure Loan program are also proposed for two big-ticket budget inclusions – the Moe Rail Precinct Revitalisation Stage 2 ($7.5 million) and upgrades at Kernot Hall ($2.5 million). “These major infrastructure investments will ensure Council continues to build the regional city’s future,” Cr Clancey said.
“All Councillors recognise the role of each level of government in supporting the community through its recovery from this pandemic. Local government has a vital role to play in helping to reboot our economy, while maintaining the delivery of essential services and community supports,” he said.
“Like every community across Australia, our local economy has suffered a substantial shock and Council has not been immune to these challenges. However, Latrobe City’s citizens can be confident that Council has drafted a carefully considered budget to ensure their hard-earned money is targeted to areas which will deliver maximum community benefit.
“We believe we have been able to successfully strike the balance between minimising cost to ratepayers and ensuring revenue to operate and deliver the services and facilities integral to reviving the community,” Cr Clancey said.
Community members are encouraged to review the broader document ahead of a period of public submissions. The draft budget and supplementary information are available at www.latrobe.vic.gov.au/draftbudget, with Council accepting public submissions until 5pm on Wednesday 15 July 2020.
Written submissions will be considered in accordance with section 233 of the Local Government Act 1989. Submissions can be lodged at the following:
Website – www.latrobe.vic.gov.au/draftbudget