Mayoral Column 29 June 2015
Published on 29 June 2015
Council adopts its 2015/2016 budget
The Council budget has been adopted with Loddon Shire aiming to be debt free by the end of the financial year.
Council expects to make its last repayment of its current debt of $129,205 in December this year.
The budget will see Council invest more than $8.4 million on capital works projects this financial year, including heavy commitments to roads and community facilities. Of the $8.4 million, $4.5 million will go towards our infrastructure program, with road resealing and reconstruction programs being allocated $2 million of that amount. The budget allocates $251,000 for recreation, leisure and community facilities and $115,000 for parks, open space and streetscapes.
Council has committed $557,000 to the development of a Pyramid Hill industrial estate and $300,000 to transform the Inglewood tip into a transfer station. It has also provided full funding of Council’s on-going commitment of community planning of $750,000.
The budget also sees a $400,000 allocation for works associated with the Building Asset Management Plan which funds major repair and maintenance of Council owned and controlled buildings and a continued support for both the 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.
Council’s total budget is $31 million in operating income and $28.5 million in operating expenditure, with an expected $9 million left in the bank at the end of the next financial year. From this $9 million, $8 million will be committed to Council’s discretionary reserves which put money aside now for future projects, staff entitlements, and money held in trust.
The money is on the table
Loddon Shire has put a total of $750,000 on the table for local people engaged in approved projects which build into our community life and infrastructure.
The money is channeled through two annual grants allocations – Council’s Annual Community Plan based on a $50,000 allocation per ward, totaling $250,000, and a $500,000 Community Planning Strategic Fund Allocation.
Council received requests to fund 17 projects to the value of $328,250 across the shire. Council has decided to allocate $119,000 to nine of the projects, which are shovel ready.
Projects that received funding include: the Nolens Park Redevelopment Project at Boort, the development of the Little Lake Boort Master Plan, Bridgewater Memorial and Inglewood Eucalyptus Museum Traction Engine Project, heating and cooling for Campbells Forest Hall and the Inglewood Traction Engine Annex Project.
Under the fund the Eddington playground will also receive an upgrade, the Tarnagulla playground will have shade sails installed and the Tarnagulla cemetery will benefit from the installation of a heritage style seat.
Projects in Wedderburn, Pyramid Hill and Calivil were not allocated funding from the Annual Community Plan. Council has requested further planning be undertaken on the two projects submitted from Pyramid Hill and Wedderburn before a resubmission of their applications.
The bowling club irrigation upgrade at Calivil received its allocation through Council’s Community Grants Program.
Any funds which are not allocated as part of Council’s Annual Community Plan remain in each ward’s funding reserves for future projects.
No submission for the $500,000 strategic fund was received. This fund is designed for big picture proposals, which usually attract significant external funding.
For more information, contact Council’s Manager Community Planning on 5494 1200.
New program to inform community
Loddon Shire Council is currently investigating a new user-friendly, internet-based mapping site, which will allow residents to view their neighbourhoods and the facilities around them from the comfort of their own home.
The program would also aid those looking to move to the area to obtain information including services and facilities nearby prior to purchasing property.
The system will look similar to Google Maps and will show municipal services, sporting and public facilities, education services, bus stops and routes, health services, recycle and waste management facilities, aerial photography and much more.
The initiative is only in the initial stages and Council is currently working with a company to develop the program.
Further information on the program will be provided closer to its release date. Residents wishing to make suggestions on what type of mapped information they would most like included can email Council’s GIS officer at email@example.com.