Steady budget to steer Bayside through pandemic

The 2020/21 Budget proposes a steady path through the COVID-19 pandemic, providing services and support for the Bayside community and infrastructure investment to stimulate economic recovery.

Bayside Mayor Cr Clarke Martin said that the carefully shaped budget is being considered in an environment quite unlike any other in living memory.

“Like every other part of our society and economy, COVID-19 is impacting Council’s operations in a myriad of ways,’ he said.

“We have rapidly adapted to the new environment and continue to deliver for our community, diverting staff and resources into critical areas such as caring for elderly and vulnerable residents as well as supporting local businesses.”

“Financially, COVID-19 will reduce Council’s revenue from fees, charges and fines by an estimated $6 million including $2.7 million in the first quarter of 2020/21. Fortunately prudent management over time has placed us in a strong financial position with zero debt which means we are well placed to weather the COVID-19 storm in the short term,’ Cr Martin said.

In 2020/21 Council will focus on the provision of core services and a program of infrastructure upgrades funded by a $138.1 million budget.

Proposed upgrades includes $12.9 million on parks, open space and streetscapes, $12.4 million on buildings, $3.7 million for roads, $2.2 million for foreshores and conservation, $1.8 million for footpaths and bicycle ways and $1.6 million on drainage.

Bayside rates will increase by 2% in 2020/21 in line with the Victorian Government’s Fair Go Rates System.

Cr Martin said that rates will not only fund services and infrastructure in 2020/21, but also continued support for the Bayside community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Rates are Council’s main form of income and we will use them to continue to support our vulnerable community members, traders, and businesses who are facing significant financial hardship during the COVID-19 crisis,” Cr Martin said.

In the near term, rates will support the Bayside COVID-19 recovery plan including reinvigorating local shopping villages and employment hubs once social distancing requirements are relaxed, as well as working to re-establish social connections across our community.

Some of the highlights proposed in this budget include:

  • Construction of the new Thomas Street Reserve Playground
  • Reconstruction of the Sandringham Athletics Track
  • Refurbishment of the Sandringham Masonic Hall
  • Commence Phase 1 of Elsternwick Park Nature Reserve
  • Construct new public toilets at Thomas Street Reserve and Green Point
  • Complete construction AW Oliver Reserve pavilion
  • Continue design and planning for the Dendy Street Beach pavilion, Bayside Netball Centre and Beaumaris Arts Centre redevelopment.

Bayside Mayor, Cr Clarke Martin said while rates represent only 3.5% of total taxation paid by Australians, they fund 30% of the community’s assets such as roads, drains, parks, open space, footpaths and public buildings.

“As the closest level of government to the community, Councils connect with residents on a daily basis. The recent experience of COVID-19 shows how important our support, services and facilities are to the wellbeing of our community,” he said.

The draft 2020/21 Budget will be officially released for public comment on 20 May 2020 along with the Strategic Resource Plan. From 20 May 2020 residents can:

  • make a public submission online via Council’s Have Your Say page on our website by 17 June
  • write to Council’s Chief Executive Officer, Mick Cummins

/Public Release. View in full here.