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The 2015 - 2016 draft budget

News Article Date: 
Friday, 1 May 2015
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Maintaining services to the young and elderly, renewing the city centre and flood control remain key priorities in Warrnambool City Council’s 2015-2016 draft $81.4 million budget.

“This budget meets present challenges but will also anticipates a future where rate capping will test Council’s ability to maintain the levels of services we currently provide,” WCC Chief Executive Officer Bruce Anson said.

The proposed rate increase is 5.5 per cent which includes 0.5 per cent for renewing Council assets and an additional 0.5 per cent for Council’s Small Infrastructure Fund.

“Council believes the draft budget strikes a balance between the needs of the community and the financial pressures that households and businesses face,” Mr Anson said.

“The rate rise, similar to other regional municipalities, equates to an average residential rate increase of about $1.70 a week.”

The budget comprises operational expenditure of $64.1 million and a capital works spend of $17.3 million.

The Simpson Street tunnel upgrade – which will help lower the risk of flooding to more than 80 homes in north-east Warrnambool - will receive $4.7 million while $1.5 million will go towards the completion of the Flagstaff Hill Stage I upgrade and $2 million towards the city centre renewal.

The budget breakdown:

  • Family and children’s services, $8.4 million
  • Aged and disabled services, $3.9 million
  • Waste management, $2.7 million
  • Parks and gardens, $3.5 million
  • Roads and other infrastructure, $4.9 million
  • Recreation and culture, $7 million
  • Promotion and events, $1.7 million
  • Planning and building services, $1.6 million

Included within the budget is an extra allocation of $155,000 for the Small Infrastructure Fund.

“Once again we will offer the community an opportunity through the Community Development Fund to apply directly for financial support,” Warrnambool Mayor Cr Michael Neoh said.

“The Community Development Fund provides residents and groups with great opportunities to enhance their neighbourhoods or complete projects which provide a community benefit.

“The Small Infrastructure Fund has so far resulted in the creation of a path from Russell Street, Dennington, to the shopping centre in Raglan Parade while a pedestrian bridge along Daltons Road will be the next project tackled.

“Council sees enormous value in the Small Infrastructure Fund and proposes doubling the allocation to the fund.”

Mr Anson said each year all Councils continue to rely on Federal and State government grants to help deliver services.

“We will soon enter the second year of a three-year freeze on the support we receive through the Federal Government’s Financial Assistance Grants,” he said.

“The cumulative impact of not indexing the grants for our Council is $600,000 over the three years and places pressure on the Council’s bottom line.

“However with careful financial management and a focus on being innovative in the way we go about providing services to the community we will again aim for a small budget surplus which will demonstrate our financial sustainability.”

Council has allocated $4.3 million for asset renewal which includes $350,000 for public toilet upgrades and $180,000 for saleyards improvements.

In addition to new 2015-2016 projects work continues on major projects including Horne Road Stage II ($1.2 million), the Warrnambool Regional Airport Aviation Park ($4.9 million) and the northern section of Aberline Road ($1.9 million).

Council services include:

Meals on Wheels                    Rubbish collection                   Recycling

Fun4Kids                                 Footpaths                                Bicycle paths

Drainage                                 Street cleaning                        Airport

Port of Warrnambool              Environmental health              Rural access

Home care                              Planned activity groups          Family day care

Kindergartens                          Respite services                     Library

AquaZone                               The WAG                                Lighthouse Theatre

Gymnastics stadium               Multi-purpose stadium            Child care

Holiday parks                          Playgrounds                            Sportsgrounds

Economic development          Planning                                  Building services

Visitor Information Centre       Botanic gardens                      Roads

Immunisation                          Flagstaff Hill                            Safe school crossings

Submissions addressed to the Chief Executive, Warrnambool City Council, 25 Liebig Street, Warrnambool 3280 will be received until 5pm Wednesday 3 June 2015.

Any written submission received within the period specified will be considered by the Council in accordance with Section 223 of the Act. A Special Meeting of Council will be held at 5.45pm, Tuesday 9 June 2015 at the Warrnambool Civic Centre, to hear any person who requests to be heard in support of such written submission.

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