Council’s Draft Budget 2023-2024 proposes a capitals works budget of $26.7 million and the ongoing delivery of Council’s existing suite of programs and services.
The Draft Budget is now out for public comment.
Mayor Cr Debbie Arnott said the proposed budget was “responsible and conservative with a focus on looking after our current assets”.
“We want to ensure we can maintain or renew the assets we have, which are worth more than $750 million,” Cr Arnott said.
“The proposed rate increase of 3.5 per cent is in line with the rate cap announced by the Victorian Government.
“Although this rate increase is well below inflation, Council’s careful and responsible budgeting will allow us to deliver on a varied capital works program and other services on which the community depends,” Cr Arnott said.
“We’re mindful of the cost of living pressures so where possible we have made allowances for this, such as no change to pet registration fees.”
The capital works component of the budget is $26.7 million which includes:
- Brierly Master Plan implementation, $1.47 million
- A West Warrnambool Neighbourhood House, $500,000
- Drainage work including completion of the Japan Street catchment flood mitigation work, $1.37 million
- Road renewal, $4.28 million
- Completion of existing Port of Warrnambool projects, $1.67 million
- Footpath renewal, $860,000
- CBD footpath and car park renewal, $600,000
The Comprehensive Income Statement surplus does not indicate Council has spare money to spend but is prepared under Australian Accounting Standards, and represents an accounting surplus that comprises non-cash items and funds tied to project delivery, such as:
- capital grants that are tied to the delivery of specific projects;
- contributions of land and other assets by developers as a requirement of land subdivision and development; and,
- depreciation of Council assets (non-cash accounting item).
“We still have a number of important projects under way such as the McGennans amenities block to be finished by the end of October.
“With regard to the big ticket capital works we’re really in an investigation stage, in particular with a view to the long-term future of the Warrnambool Art Gallery and AquaZone.”
No new borrowings have been budgeted in 2023-2024 and current debt levels remains within the Victorian Auditor-General’s low risk range.
Hardship provisions remain in place for eligible ratepayers.
The average residential rates increase – including rates, the municipal charge and waste management fee – is $75.39.
“Council encourages interested residents to read the Draft Budget and let us know what you think,” Cr Arnott said.
The Budget is online at www.yoursaywarrnambool.com.au or you can collect a hard copy at the Civic Centre, 25 Liebig Street.
Submissions to the Draft Budget close on May 29.
“Once we have the feedback it will be considered by Council at the June 5 meeting and we’ll adopt a final budget at a special meeting to be held on June 26,” Cr Arnott said.