Council has released its Proposed Annual Budget 2020-21 for community feedback and submissions until 24 July 2020, following the Ordinary Council Meeting last night.
Taking up the Victorian Government’s two month extension for all councils to complete their 2020-21 budgets, Council has reshaped its budget to ensure it delivers programs that support the community to remain resilient during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic recovery phase.
Council also used this extension of time to consult with representatives of the Hobsons Bay business and residential community seeking input on meaningful and lasting ways to support our community in the recovery phase.
The Proposed Annual Budget 2020-21 includes a 2 per cent rate increase, in line with the Victorian Government’s Fair Go Rates System, and is the most effective way in the current financial climate to offer an agile and responsive approach to direct support to those who need it. This represents an average general rate increase by slightly less than $1 per week across all property types in Hobsons Bay.
The Proposed Annual Budget 2020-21 includes a third Community Support Package, worth at least $3 million and returns more than 150 per cent of the income generated from this year’s rate increase directly back to the community recovery and business support.
The third Community Support Package invests $943,000 into community recovery and includes: initiatives to support local connections ($100,000); incentives to use Council venues including the Williamstown Town Hall and Altona Theatre ($132,000); waiver of summer sports ground rentals ($72,000); strategic planning support for sports clubs to resume training and competition ($60,000); sports pavilion cleaning program ($20,000); and ‘loan to own’ iPads program at the libraries ($60,000).
Additionally, a COVID-19 Recovery Grants program worth $500,000 has been added to Council’s existing Annual Community Grants Programs, totalling $1 million in grant funding available for the community.
The proposed Community Support Package also provides significant financial relief for businesses. As part of the third package, almost $2 million will be dedicated to business and economic recovery, including: rebates for the 2020-21 food registration ($595,000); public health fees ($63,000), and footpath trading permit fees ($150,000); extending the waiver of paid parking in Nelson Place until 31 December 2020 (customers of businesses located at Williamstown Beach will also be provided dedicated permits for free parking during this period) ($520,000); rent relief in Council owned property ($210,000); town planning rebates ($177,000); and rolling out a business precinct support campaign ($250,000).
The Proposed Annual Budget 2020-21 continues to deliver more than 100 vital community services and capital works improvements to the unprecedented value of $67.866 million across the city. The Capital Works Program is the highest investment Council has ever committed for capital works projects and aims to boost our local economy in the recovery phase of the pandemic.
Highlights include: $15.605 million for roads and drains; $1.515 million for footpaths and cycle ways; $16.333 million for recreation and open space; and $29.958 million on buildings, such as sporting and recreational facilities, civic and community facilities.
Council has also reviewed and refreshed the Financial Hardship Policy to provide genuine and discreet support for residents and businesses impacted by the pandemic.
The community can now have its say on the Proposed Annual Budget 2020-21 until 24 July 2020. The Annual Budget 2020-21 is set to be presented for adoption on Tuesday 18 August. To make a submission or view the proposed budget, visit participate.hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au. Council will also be hosting a LIVE Budget Q&A on Facebook on Thursday 16 July 6.30-8pm. For details, visit www.facebook.com/HobsonsBayCityCouncil
As stated by Hobsons Bay Mayor Cr Colleen Gates
“The Proposed Annual Budget 2020-21 has been developed in a unique, unparalleled environment, with our community and their views at its centre.
“Council was relieved to have an additional two months to proactively work with members of our community to source meaningful ways on how to best assist those people and groups hardest hit by the Coronavirus pandemic.
“My deepest thank you to the Portfolio Advisory Committee members, Interagency members, young people and the newly established Hobsons Bay Business Roundtable who were part of the pre-budget Coronavirus recovery ideas sessions and made themselves available at short notice.
“Their feedback was integral to developing the Community Support Package and reshaping the budget. The 2 per cent increase at less than a dollar week, will enable us to provide powerful and important services and support for community members who really need it.”
As stated by Hobsons Bay Deputy Mayor Cr Sandra Wilson
“The Proposed Annual Budget 2020-21 continues to provide over 100 vital core services for our community and capital work improvements across Hobsons Bay, boosting our local economy and ensuring our community has access to the services we know they value.
“The proposed budget has been developed with an enormous amount of consultation and has enabled us to lift the standard of what matters most to our community now and in the future. It focuses on improving open spaces, shared pathways, library services, local business and economic development, protecting conservation areas and core Council services, such as road maintenance and waste and recycling services.
“Under the Local Government Act, we have an obligation to ensure Council is financially viable. The revised Financial Hardship Policy and targeted relief in the third Community Support Package ensures we are providing support to residents who truly need it and at the same time we are planning and investing in our future.”