Time to talk Budget

Bass Coast Shire Council has released its Proposed 2020/21 Budget for community feedback.

The Proposed Budget supports the objectives of the Council Plan and continues to reflect Council’s extensive community engagement to ‘Help Shape a Better Bass Coast’.

The Proposed Budget projects an operating surplus of $3.1 million. It builds on the recent trend of increasing funding for capital and operational projects. The Budget positions the organisation to respond to the impact of growth and development within the Shire and plan for the delivery of major projects.

The $92 million Proposed Budget remains aligned with Council’s Long Term Financial Plan and focusses on maintaining and upgrading existing assets. It includes a record capital works program of $28 million and a further $2.8 million in fee relief and economic stimulus to support the community to recover from the impacts of COVID-19.

The $2.8 million in economic stimulus and fee relief package follows the $965,000 provided to the community within the 2019/20 forecast.

Highlights of this package include:

  • Freeze on fees and charges – $350,000
  • Full year waiver of business signage, footpath trading and liquor licences – $30,000
  • Three months’ rent relief to Council lessees – $200,000
  • Business and Event recovery support – $40,000
  • Affordable Housing Initiative – $130,000
  • Fast tracking a number of strategic initiatives and capital works in order to stimulate the local economy

The proposed $28 million Capital Works Program includes major, minor and renewal projects such as:

  • $6.4 million for infrastructure works such as pathways, roads, drainage, open space and recreation facilities
  • $3.08 million for aquatics planning and design
  • $4 million for the Cowes Cultural and Community Centre Redevelopment
  • $1.15 million for upgrades to Wonthaggi Guide Park
  • $250,000 for the Phillip Island Transfer Station development
  • $500,000 for Climate Change Actions
  • $380,000 for the Anderson Road Boat Ramp East Carpark Upgrade

Increases in Council’s day-to-day operational costs have been contained to two per cent.

The proposed annual garbage charge has increased by $47.50 or 10.6 per cent to $496.50. This increase was driven by a number of factors including:

  • ongoing pressure on recycling costs;
  • a further increase in the State government landfill levy, increases in kerbside and organics collection costs;
  • additional landfill environmental monitoring costs to comply with enhanced EPA standards; and
  • an increase in the Waste capital program due to the proposed construction of a new waste transfer station on Phillip Island.

The Proposed Budget continues to support our agricultural community with a rating differential of 80 per cent, plus the opportunity to apply for the Rural Land Management Program, which returns approximately $634,000 in environmental value to the rural community. A formal review of Council’s Rating Strategy was initiated during 2019/20, however it has now been discontinued as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Bass Coast Mayor, Cr Brett Tessari said he is delighted that the Proposed Budget is providing additional support to the community in the form of fee relief and economic stimulus while also commencing the delivery and detailed planning for a number of major projects, including the Cowes Cultural and Community Centre and planning and design for two major Aquatics facilities in the Shire.

“I strongly encourage our community to provide us with their feedback, and help us deliver an efficient and financially responsible budget for the next 12 months,” Cr Tessari said.

“We are committed to maintaining services and delivering our infrastructure, while delivering projects that are valued by our community, all within the two per cent rate cap set by the State Government.”

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