We are very pleased to introduce the Greater Bendigo City Council’s 2019/2020 proposed Budget. The Budget is presented with the Annual Plan, as it represents Council’s plan for our community for this financial year. Both documents work together in delivering on the Community Plan.
Our vision is to create the world’s most liveable community and this year’s Budget reflects feedback from our residents concerning smaller but important projects that will benefit the community in their daily lives.
The proposed Budget includes a $42.8M investment in new and renewal projects that maintain and develop our infrastructure. The Budget also includes $190M in operating expenditure, continuing to fund important services for our community.
The Budget supports the six key goals outlined in the Greater Bendigo Community Plan 2017-2021:
- Lead and govern for all
- Wellbeing and fairness
- Strengthening the economy
- Presentation and managing growth
- Environmental sustainability
- Embracing our culture and heritage
The City provides critical services to the community. This year, the operating Budget will continue to fund early years services, waste collection, street cleaning, maintenance of our fantastic parks, gardens and recreation facilities, environmental health, statutory planning, road maintenance, tourism and visitor services, Bendigo Art Gallery, The Capital and Ulumbarra theatres and much more.
Highlights in our $42.8M capital works program for this year include a new dog park in Heathcote (location yet to be decided), expansion of the Huntly Early Learning Centre to include a new early years hub in response to a growing population along Greater Bendigo’s northern corridor, and construction of a new footpath along the Calder Highway at Maiden Gully.
Other items include the construction of a new skate park in Epsom, detailed design for the Greater Bendigo Food Hub; a new cycling lane between the city centre and La Trobe University, completion of drainage work in west Marong and continued construction of the Garden Gully Hockey Pavilion.
In funding these projects, Council is responding to issues that residents have told us are important and will make our community more liveable.
Maintaining essential infrastructure is another key responsibility and the 2019/2020 proposed Budget will allocate an additional $12.6M for sealed roads, $3M for unsealed roads and $3.8M in drainage works across the municipality. Overall, $32.8M will be invested in renewing the City’s assets. Council will also invest $3.1M in footpaths and shared paths, with $580,000 allocated for bridge renewals.
Works in rural areas include sealing the Heathcote-North Costerfield Road and O’Briens Lane in Longlea, construction of a main drain in west Marong, upgrading the roundabout at Averys Road and Jobs Gully Road in Jackass Flat, and bridge works at Sugarloaf Road in Axedale and Allies Road in Myers Flat.
Council will also provide funding to ensure important services will continue in the community, such as the transfer of pound services from the RSPCA to the City.
We will continue to progress planning for the GovHub at Lyttleton Terrace, which will provide a fantastic centralised model of service delivery to the community and house 1,000 staff – including 400 City staff and various Victorian Government departments.
The GovHub also represents an exciting opportunity to revitalise central Bendigo, bringing more people in to work and do business with Victorian and Local governments.
The proposed Budget includes a rate increase of 2.5 per cent, which is in line with the Victorian Government Fair Go Rate System. Council has again decided not to seek a variation to the rate cap this financial year, as it is confident that it will be able to accommodate increasing demand and costs without impacting on service delivery.
However over time a constrained financial environment will put pressure on the City’s financial sustainability and capacity to continue to deliver services and maintain infrastructure for our growing community.
The City is budgeting a total of $197M in revenue from rates, charges, statutory fees, user fees, fines, operating and capital grants from the Victorian and Australian governments, interest on investments and contributions. Rates make up around 59 per cent of Council’s overall revenue.
Submissions to the 2019/2020 proposed Budget are best submitted by completing an online form at www.bendigo.vic.gov.au/budget by close of business on Friday May 17, 2019.