Budget Set To Deliver On Promises
At a Special Meeting on Wednesday, Bass Coast Shire Council released its draft 2015/16 Budget for community comment.
Mayor, Cr Kimberley Brown, said she was proud to present the draft budget to the community for consideration.
“There are some significant financial challenges that Council faces now and into the future; the most important being the need to increase our investment in renewing aging infrastructure,” Cr Brown said.
“This is in an environment where Council is under increasing pressure to contain operating costs, whilst also providing new facilities for our growing population.
“Council will continue to be a low rating and low spending council, coupled with a continual review process for services provided by Council.
“By seeking out efficiencies and assessing the appropriateness of services provided, Council will continue to plan for the future sustainability of the Bass Coast.”
Cr Brown said this budget delivers on Council’s five key promises, which are to:
- Contain operational costs
- Increase capital works
- Review services
- Review Council’s Rating Strategy
- Continue to be low rating
“Operating costs have been contained at $2 million less than the Strategic Resource Plan (SRP) in 2014/15 for the same period, containing operating costs at a 1.6 per cent increase, which is significantly below the CPI,” Cr Brown said.
“Employee costs have also been contained at $1.3 million less than the Strategic Resource Plan.”
Cr Brown said Council’s capital works budget also received a significant boost in the draft budget.
“A $3.37 million increase in the size of our asset renewal and replacement program has also been proposed,” Cr Brown said.
“This is critical in maintaining Council’s assets and in delivering on Council’s commitment to significantly increase investment in Council assets and facilities each year to ensure old or damaged assets are renewed.”
Cr Brown said Council has also committed to a program of service reviews for 2015/16, in order to reduce operating costs as promised in the Long Term Financial Plan (LTFP), and had already adopted a new Rating Strategy earlier this month.
Cr Brown added that the LTFP provides for a 4.7 per cent rate increase beyond 2015/16; an average increase of $70 per rateable property.
“This will continue to see us be a low rating Council, with Bass Coast rates currently around 11% or $191 below State average,” Cr Brown said.
“Our operating costs have been contained and any rate increase beyond CPI will go straight to Council’s capital program.
“In 2015/16 a 6.3 per cent average rate increase is a slightly higher increase required for critical capital works, such as the renewal of assets, and to secure our long term future.”
Cr Brown encouraged residents and ratepayers to look at the budget material available both online and in hard copy, and to let Council know their thoughts on the budget.
Copies of the proposed budget will be available from basscoast.vic.gov.au/budget from Thursday, 23 April, and will be available for inspection from Monday, 27 April at:
Bass Coast Civic Centre, 76 McBride Ave, Wonthaggi
Cowes Customer Service Centre, 91-97 Thompson Ave
Inverloch Community Hub, 16 A’Beckett St
Grantville Transaction Centre, 1504-1510 Bass Hwy
Libraries across the Shire, including the mobile library.
Under the provisions of Section 223 of the Local Government Act 1989, any person may make a written submission on any proposal contained in the Budget.
Any person lodging a submission may request to be heard in person in support of their submission. Submissions may be made available to the public.
Submissions must be received by 5.00pm on Friday, 29 May and be addressed to The Chief Executive Officer, Bass Coast Shire Council, PO Box 118, Wonthaggi VIC 3995.
Submissions will be considered by a committee of Council on Wednesday, 10 June. This meeting will be open to the public. The budget will be formally presented to the Wednesday, 24 June meeting for adoption, along with the outcome of any submissions.
For further information about the proposed budget, contact Council on 1300BCOAST (226 278) or (03) 5671 2211.