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Draft budget responds to pandemic impact

News Article Date: 
Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Warrnambool City Council’s draft 2020-2021 Budget acknowledges the financial hardship facing many while investing in projects that will help stimulate the economy during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Council has released the draft budget for public comment along with a revised Council Plan.

“We understand the financial damage this pandemic has wreaked on our local economy and we must prepare and act for a Covid-19-free future,” Mayor Cr Tony Herbert said.

“The draft budget allows for the downturn in services but also seeks to both stimulate and support our municipality into 2021.”

The draft budget details the resources required over the next financial year to fund the services that remain operating for Warrnambool’s 35,000 residents.

These services range from kindergartens, childcare centres and home support services to waste collection and and the maintenance of roads and footpaths.

The budget also includes details of a balanced program of capital expenditure including allocations to improve and renew our City’s physical infrastructure, buildings and operational assets.

The budget includes a rate increase of 2.0 per cent, reduced from the 4.5% allowed for by the Essential Services Commission for this financial year. It also includes a reduction in the waste management charge meaning on the average property values rates and charges the forecast increase in 2020-2021 will be 1.2%.

As part of Warrnambool's response to the global recycling issues, Council has implemented FOGO, a trial of kerbside glass collection and glass collection points. This is reducing Council's risk exposure to the recycling market.  These measures have helped Council reduce waste management costs and it is proposed that the waste management fees be cut by 2.79% or $11 per property to $379.09.

This budget sees the average residential rate bill increase to $2,053 from $2,029 in 2019-20.

“The budget reflects a significant cut in services directly affected by the pandemic and sadly encompasses stand downs to many valuable staff until we are able to reopen these services.

“These staff continue to be an important part of our future for Warrnambool’s community.”

Over 2020-2021, the Council will develop and use its existing resources and a community and business stimulus and recovery fund to develop and deliver initiatives to help the community regrow.

“The allocation in 2020-2021 for community and business support in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic is $1.951 million,” Cr Herbert said. 

“This figure includes $450,000 of community and business support funds and the focussing of existing resources to community and business recovery efforts.

The support package comprises:

            •  Community and Business Support and Stimulus Fund - $450,000

            •  Small Infrastructure Fund 2020/21 - $891,000

            •  Economic development unit - $545,000

            •  Community development grants - $65,000

“Council will review these efforts during the year and set a revised budget if required to best meet the needs of our local community and business”

“We will make sure we are reaching the areas of greatest need, filling gaps and leveraging on the efforts of all levels of government to maximise our recovery efforts for the community.”

Council has proposed a substantial capital works program with an emphasis on asset renewal. We have allocated funding of $18.5 million for asset renewals, upgrades and expansions.

Capital works highlights:

  • Road renewals - $3.8 million
  • Completion of the Lake Pertobe Master Plan implementation (Stage I) - $2.9 million
  • Completion of the Reid Oval  - $11 million
  • Library and Learning Centre - $1.3m
  • Energy saving initiatives - $1 million
  • Community Support Fund - $810,000
  • Beach access renewal - $180,000

 

“We will use these capital projects to stimulate local employment and purchasing and leverage opportunities of funding from all levels of government to deliver for the future needs of our community,” Cr Herbert said.

To have a say on the Budget or Council Plan go to www.yoursaywarrnambool.com.au

 

2019-2020

Increase/(decrease)

2020-2021

% increase/decrease

Average residential rates

$1,367.77

$28.52

$1,396.28

2.0%

Municipal charge

$271.70

$5.43

$277.13

2.0%

Waste management fee

$389.98

($10.89)

$379.09

(2.8%)

*Average residential rates and charges

$2,029.45

$23.05

$2,052.50

1.2%

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