Ballarat City Council has voted to seek feedback on the draft 2020/21 budget.
At a special remote council meeting last night, the Council agreed to put the budget on exhibition for public submissions until Monday 8 June 2020.
The 2020/21 budget will be voted on at a special council meeting on Wednesday 24 June.
The highlights of the proposed 2020/21 budget, based on the four Council Plan pillars, include:
A zero rate increase, with the Victorian Government’s rate cap set at two per cent
A zero rise in fees and charges
No rise in the waste levy
$17 million in new borrowings will be required to help cover the COVID-19 impact of a $20 million cash shortfall, caused mainly by facility closures and an expected rate revenue drop
$1.6 million for safety and risk commitments
$1.6 million for advocacy and lobbying to Victorian and Australian governments for investment Council projects and initiatives
$52 million for the core capital works program
$17.1 million for waste services
$13.9 million for roads
$11.5 million for parks and gardens
$10.1 million for infrastructure maintenance
$3.5 million over four years for energy efficient LED lighting
$1 million increase in facilities maintenance over two years to a total of $4.7 million per year
$969,000 for parks, open spaces and streetscapes
$500,000 towards a 40 per cent tree canopy
$9 million for Sport and Active Living programs
$2.8 million for tourism
$2.7 million for library service
$1.9 million over two years for the Ballarat Central Library upgrade
$394,000 for new library books
$335,000 for Maternal and Child Health programs
$15 million over three years for the Bakery Hill and Bridge Mall Precinct Urban Renewal Project
$6.8 million for events, Creative City and tourism
$3.3 million for urban design and heritage projects
$2.2 million for economic development initiatives
City of Ballarat Mayor Cr Ben Taylor said the final budget of this Council’s term had been the most challenging due to the difficult economic circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We know these are difficult economic times for our residents so we are proposing a zero rate increase in 2020/21,” Cr Taylor said.
“However we still need to balance these challenging financial times with our provision of more than 80 services to our community.
“We also have to be the community leader in kickstarting the economy once restrictions are lifted so we plan to commit to all of our major infrastructure projects started in previous budgets, including the Bakery Hill and Bridge Mall Precinct Urban Renewal Project, the Ballarat Central Library upgrade and the Carbon Neutrality and 100% Renewables Action Plan
“We also still have to maintain more than $1.7 billion of Council assets, such as roads, footpaths and drains, and we, as a Council, want to complete our Council Plan initiatives started three and a half years ago.
“Under new Victorian Government rules we could have delayed the budget but we wanted the community to have confidence in our financial blueprint for the way ahead.
“I would urge people to read the budget and provide feedback through written submissions before it is adopted in June so we can all move forward together over the coming days and months with the best possible financial plan in place.”
The 2020/21 draft budget will be available for inspection on the City of Ballarat website from Monday 11 May. Written submissions must be received at Ballarat Town Hall, PO Box 655, Ballarat 3353 or sent via email to email@example.com by 9am Monday 8 June 2020. All written submissions and presentations will be presented at a Special Council Meeting to be held on Wednesday 24 June 2020.