Bass Coast,

Council Adopts 2015-16 Budget

With a commitment to being low spending and low rating, Bass Coast Shire Council adopted its 2015-16 Budget at tonight’s Council meeting.

Bass Coast Mayor, Cr Kimberley Brown, said she was proud of the Budget, which featured the largest capital works program funded by Council to date.

“Included in the Budget are some big ticket projects, such as the Bass Valley Children’s Centre, the Cowes Activity Centre Plan and the Cowes Centre Redevelopment,” Cr Brown said.

“There are also some smaller projects included that will really benefit our community, such as the upgrade of the netball courts at the Wonthaggi Recreation Reserve, upgrades to the Cape Paterson foreshore and extended opening hours for the Cowes Recycle Bank.”

Cr Brown said the Budget enables Council to continue to be a low rating Council by containing operating costs.

“We have contained operating costs at a 1.6 per cent increase on the 2014-15 Budget, which is below the CPI, and we have also significantly increased our commitment to replacing and renewing our existing assets by providing an additional $3.5 million,” Cr Brown said.

“We have been able to review our systems and services, and create efficiencies to deliver a responsible budget despite facing numerous financial challenges.

“One of these challenges has been the freeze on State and Federal Government grants, costing Council an additional $1.8 million over three years.

“While we all would naturally prefer a lower rate increase, the facts are we have significantly reduced operational expenditure to the tune of approximately $2 million, meaning the rate increase is being directed straight into our capital program in the areas of asset renewal and the provision of new facilities.

“In doing this, we will still continue to be one of the lowest rating councils in the State. These were our core promises in our long term plan and our Budget, and we have delivered on all fronts.”

As part of the adoption process, Council also declared the rates and charges for the 2015-16 financial year.