NORTHERN Grampians Shire Council has released its draft budget 2019-20 for public comment.
The council held a special meeting on Monday afternoon to approve the budget in principal, and a copy is now available on its website.
The total revenue the council will receive is $34.4 million, inclusive of rates and grants.
Total expenses will be $35 million, resulting in a deficit of $631,000 for the financial year.
However, the council will not borrow funds to cover the deficit.
"We've been able to put this budget together without any additional borrowings," Northern Grampians Shire mayor, Councilor Kevin Erwin said.
Residential rates will rise by 2.97 per cent, commercial rates will drop by 1.49 per cent, industrial rates will drop by 3.39 per cent, and farm rates will rise by 2.95 per cent.
Recreational rates will drop by .48 per cent
The changes fall to an average of 2.5 per cent, which aligns with the rates cap.
There will be no change to differentials, though farm properties will be set at 53 per cent of the general rate.
The number of assessments to be conducted will drop by 0.3 per cent, with the biggest drop in commercial properties.
The council anticipates raising an additional 3.8 per cent in rates and charges revenue compared to the previous financial year, to a total of $18.1 million.
Kerbside collection charges will be charged at $277 annually, with a charge of $159 for additional collections.
This has not changed from the previous financial year.
The council will spend a total of $1.8 million will go towards waste and transfer stations.
The council will spend $16.1 million on infrastructure projects, which represents an increase of almost 16 per cent from the previous financial year.
Of that, $7.5 million will be spent on roads, $1.8 million on the bridge renewal program, $5.2 million on works for the Stawell Airport, Stawell Housing Development, Stawell Parks Precinct, and North Park projects.
"We've increased our road spending after receiving additional funding, which now makes up almost a third of our budget, which is a significant amount," Cr Erwin said.
The Stawell Parks Precinct includes a redevelopment of sports facilities, an upgrade to public amenities and a youth space development, and the North Park project includes the development of a multi-purpose clubroom and netball court renewal.
In St Arnaud, major projects will include the planning and design stage of a multipurpose facility at Lord Nelson Park, as well as an upgrade to the St Arnaud Early Years Playground.
In Halls Gap, the major initiative is the continuation of works on the Peaks Trailhead Connection, while in Great Western, the Great Western Future Plan will continue with township design and streetscape planning.
The council will receive 38 per cent less in government grants than the previous financial year.
Federal grants have been reduced by 35 per cent, and state government grants by 45 per cent.
One significant grant that has been included was almost $2.5 million from the state government towards the Fixing Country Roads program.
The funding will go towards eight different projects around the shire, which are:
- Dunolly Road Major Widening and Safety Upgrade. This project will widen 16.5km of Dunolly Road that has a narrow seal, while bridges and culverts will also receive upgrades to significantly improve road safety.
- St George Road and Cobeys Creek Road Seal Upgrade. This project will upgrade 700m of St George Road and all of Cobeys Creek Road (1.6km) which is a frequently used road by local rural residents.
- Landsborough Road Bridges Upgrades. This project will strengthen and improve two bridges on Landsborough Road to meet the growing transport demands expected on this route.
- Rural Road Intersections Safety Upgrades. This project will implement safety treatments on four of the shire's highest risk rural road intersections that are fully controlled by council. These are Bulgana and Salt Creek Roads in Concongella, Stuart Mill Low and Murray Roads in Carapooee, McRae and Banyena Roads in Gre Gre North, and Bolangum Inn and Wallace Roads in Kanya.
- Pipetrack Road Upgrade - Stage 2. This project will complete the final seal on 3.6km of new road on Pipetrack Road and two intersections that were recently upgraded.
- Banyena Road Upgrade - Stage 2. This project will complete the final seal on 4.2km of new road on Banyena Road and two intersections that were recently upgraded.
- Woolpack Road Upgrade - Stage 2. This project will seal a further 1.4km of Woolpack Road.
- Great Western-Moyston Road Upgrade - Stage 2. This project will complete the final seal on 3.8kms from the Great Western Racecourse to the shire boundary.
How to submit your feedback
There are several ways for residents to submit their feedback and comments on the budget including use of a form on council's website; email comments to the council; write your comments and drop them in to one of the customer service offices or post them to council.
"We hope the community agrees with this proposed budget, and encourage them to comment if they wish to do so within the 28 day period," Cr Erwin said.
To provide feedback on the 2019-20 proposed budget, click here.
Submissions will be accepted until 4pm on June 20.
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