Mayoral Column 14 July 2014

Published on 14 July 2014

Budget charts the way ahead

Council will spend more than $11.4 million on capital works this financial year, including heavy commitments to roads, community facilities and town streetscape improvements.

It will also fully fund its promised $250,000 for community planning projects, keep up its investment in information technology and continue its support for Aged Services and Early Years programs.

In return, property owners in the Shire will see a 5.5% increase in rates and the municipal charge – the same as last year.

Waste charges will rise 7% as part of Council’s three-year program to bring its waste management activities to a cost-neutral position.

The budget allocates $1.25 million for land and buildings, $2.07 million for plant and equipment, $3.52 million for roadworks, $3.24 million for recreation, leisure and community facilities and $668,000 for parks, open space and streetscapes.

The balance of reserves at 30 June 2015 is expected to be $3.9 million and anticipated operating result for the coming year is $1.48 million.

Council resolved at a special meeting last week to advertise the draft budget and the document is now available for public inspection.

If you’d like to see it, drop in to the Shire Offices in Wedderburn or Serpentine, your local post office, resource centre or neighbourhood house.

Anyone wanting to make a written submission on an aspect of the draft budget should do so before Tuesday 5 August.  Submissions should be addressed to the Chief Executive Officer, Loddon Shire Council, PO Box 21, Wedderburn, 3518.

Councillors will meet again on Tuesday 12 August to formally adopt the budget, giving consideration to any comments received over the next four weeks.

Events supported

Last weekend’s Gold Fossicker’s Cup and this week’s annual tournament at Boort Golf Club are the latest events in Loddon Shire to run with a helping hand from Council.

Both received grants of $400 under the Shire’s Events Sponsorship Scheme, which sees community and sporting groups around the municipality assisted with their promotional and marketing expenses.

The Gold Fossicker’s Cup, hosted by the Loddon Darts Association, saw men’s and women’s teams battling it out for top honours at the Wedderburn Mechanics Institute Hall, while the Boort tournament will be played over four days starting next Thursday.

Meeting in Serpentine late last month, Council decided to back these – and seven other – community groups with special grants through its Events Sponsorship Scheme. 

The scheme has traditionally operated on a yearly basis, but a change was approved last February whereby such groups can now apply any time up to 30 days before their event takes place.

Operating since 1999, the scheme has now allocated more than $182,000 to community groups to promote happenings held within the municipality.

This first round, covering applications received from 1 March to 1 June, saw a total of $4,800 given out to groups around the Shire.

The Bridgewater on Loddon Development Committee received $1,000 for promotional expenses for the Wool, Wheat and Wine Festival in October, as did Wedderburn Historical Engine Society for its engine rally in September.

Other grants of $400 went to Dunolly Field and Game, Boort Tourism Group, Loddon Darts Association (again), Boort Indoor Bowls Club and Wedderburn Community House for scheduled events.

New to the team

Loddon Shire Council welcomes a fresh face to its team this week in Year 11 Wedderburn College student Thomas Jackson.

Thomas is starting an 18-month School-Based Apprenticeship, working two days a week with Council’s IT department while continuing his studies at the college.

The SBA program runs under the auspices of training provider Workco Ltd, managed in this case by Bendigo TAFE.

School-Based Apprenticeships are work-based programs for students which combine paid part-time work and formal industry-related training while they are completing a senior secondary certificate.

Thomas, 17, is well known in Wedderburn for his involvement in volunteer work in the areas of IT and audio support.

In a related move, Anne Hassell has been appointed as an IT assistant one day a week.

We congratulate both Thomas and Anne and hope they enjoy their new roles.

Say thanks to a volunteer

Loddon Shire enjoys an enviable level of volunteerism, if the Australian Bureau of Statistics is to be believed.

According to the 2011 Census, 34% of our population volunteer to help their communities, with many of them involved in more than one activity.

This compares with a figure of 23% for regional Victoria generally.

The state government is now calling for nominations for six categories in this year’s Victorian Premier’s Volunteer Awards, established just last year.
Those categories include Victorian Volunteer of the Year (the Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Award), Regional Youth Volunteer of the Year, Regional Volunteer of the Year and New Resident Volunteer of the Year.

Nominations close on Friday 1 August.  For more details and nomination forms, go to www.premier.vic.gov.au/victorian-premiers-volunteer-awards/about-the-awards.html.

Say hello to the Gruffalo

Boort Preschool’s four-year-olds have a huge treat in store this Wednesday (16 July), when they travel to the Capital Theatre in Bendigo to watch The Gruffalo on stage.

The Gruffalo became a world-wide publishing phenomenon after it first appeared in Britain in 1999.

The story has been retold in highly successful films and made into stage shows and the books have been translated into more than 50 languages, including Thai, Russian, Maori and Latin.