Wellington Shire Council has today released its Draft Budget 2019/20 to the community, with a fine balance struck between maintaining high standard service provision, continuation of infrastructure improvements and also acknowledging economic hardship in our region.
The Draft Budget is now available for public comment.
Acting Mayor Malcolm Hole said Councillors had spent considerable time examining the best ways to continue funding the more than 100 services Council provides while operating geographically the third largest shire in Victoria.
“It’s a matter of being able to provide the best possible outcome for the community while also tightening our belts during a time that has been tough on our agricultural sector and local economy,” he said.
“With that in mind, we have capped the general rate increase at 2.5% in line with the Victorian Government’s Fair Go Rates System.
“We have also allocated $1 million from the budget to be spent specifically on drought initiatives, working with the farming community to decide how to best spend that money.”
Council has allocated $36.63M in the Budget to capital works throughout the shire, with $22.75M funded from Council operations, $9.90M from external grants and contributions and $3.97M from new borrowings.
Some of the infrastructure highlights include:
Cr Hole said a further $4.5 million had been allocated to maintenance programs in our rural areas; a further $5.3 million for annual road reseals, re-sheeting and reconstructing unsealed roads; $1.2 million on residential street schemes and $1.2 million on footpaths including our annual footpaths and shared paths program.
“Keeping in with our desire to keep Wellington a beautiful place to live, our natural environment will also benefit from $1.1 million for open space projects including streetscapes, parks, reserves, sportsgrounds, playgrounds and skate parks,” he said.
“We do hope that the Wellington community agrees that we have struck the right balance for this year’s budget and I look forward to seeing these projects coming to fruition in the next 12 months.”
The Draft Budget will be available in full on the Wellington Shire Council website on Thursday, 18 April at www.wellington.vic.gov.au/draftbudget.
Submissions from the public are welcome until Wednesday, 15 May 2019.