Murray River 2022/23 budget adopted

Murray River Council

Murray River Council has adopted its 2022/23 Operational Plan and Budget, which includes a $28.13 million capital works program.

Council approved the final budget after a 28-day exhibition period at its council meeting on Tuesday, along with the 2022/23 Fees and Charges, the Long-Term Financial Plan and the new Delivery Program.

“This is our first budget under the newly adopted Community Strategic Plan (CSP) which drives our strategic planning, budgeting, service delivery and advocacy over the next 10 years,” Acting Mayor Frank Crawley said.

“Our 4-year Delivery Program then breaks down all the goals listed in the CSP into actions and is further supported by our Operational Plan which details the financial resources allocated to deliver certain items over this coming year.”

Cr Crawley said the Council was delivering a carefully considered budget with a view to extra planning over the next 12 months.

“We are still finalising a service review program which is looking at asset management plans, service delivery and resourcing.”

“Once complete we will be able to more accurately plan where we are going with services, assets and maintenance in the longer term.”

The 2022/23 budget forecasts an operating revenue of $57.4 million and operating expenses of $57.6 million for the coming year.

Of the $28.1 million capital works program, $14.1 million will come from Council operations and reserves, $11.7 million from capital grants and contributions and $2.3 million from loan borrowings.

Council will also see an overall draft deficit of $1.38 million for the 2022/23 financial year.

Cr Crawley said the draft deficit is largely the result of one-off projects that are funded by Council’s own source.

“The budgeted 2022/23 deficit is being proposed as it will result in projects being completed, like the service review, which will then allow Council to further improve its overall operating performance ratio over the longer term.”

As part of the 2022/23 budget process, harmonisation of the annual water and sewer charges was completed to finalise the merging of these two rating structures from the former Murray and Wakool Shires.

The annual waste charges are also slowly progressing towards harmonisation. However, this process is expected to take up to three years to align due to the large differences in charges between the two former councils.

The 2022/23 budget is based on a total rate revenue increase of 2.0% in general rates.

Key areas of capital spend include:

• Waste management: $2.3 million

• Water supply services: $956,330

• Roads, footpaths and bridges: $11.9 million

• Wastewater services: $1.58 million

• Upgrades at parks and open spaces: $1.5 million

• Public buildings: $2.82 million

Some of the larger projects include:

• TechnologyOne Implementation $2,195,000

• Moama Preschool Development $2,101,452

• Tooranie Rd / Yarrein Cr Bridge $2,100,000

• Sandy’s Rd / Barber Cr Bridge $1,800,000

• Plant Replacement Program $1,500,000

• Regional Roads Reseals Program $1,400,000

• Rural Roads Reseals & Heavy Patching Program $1,400,000

• Frasers Rd / Murrain Yarrein Ck Bridge $1,300,000

• Waste 10Yr Capex Program – Year 1 Activities $1,250,000

• Automated Depot and Re-Sale Shop $1,206,000

Cr Crawley said while this budget accounts for planned projects and services, council will continue to seek grant funding for ongoing development and projects.

“As we continue to manage the effects of rapid residential growth and high inflation rates, we will continue to call on the State and Federal Governments for support to ensure we can deliver the facilities and services our community deserves,” he said.

“We’d also like to thank the community for their ongoing engagement with us over the last six months to deliver all our plans. These fresh documents set clear direction for the Council moving forward and provide the community with an understanding of the agreed long-term goals and a view to how we will operate financially over the next ten years.”

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