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Council Releases Draft Budget for Public Comment

Southern Grampians Shire Council has released the 2018/19 draft budget at last night’s May Meeting, with community now invited to have their say.

The $75.38 million draft budget includes a $32.946 million capital works program which sees significant investment into local roads, bridges and associated infrastructure; funding for construction of serviced industrial land, improvements of Lake Hamilton and stage two of the Hamilton CBD revitalisation including township entries.

Mayor Cr Mary-Ann Brown says the 2018/19 budget aims to deliver a number of key projects in the 2017-2021 Council Plan, building on the initial work completed over the last financial year.

“Councillors and Council officers have been working together to plan strategically for the future so that we are making significant investment into our critical infrastructure; providing quality recreation and leisure services across the Shire; planning for the future of our cultural facilities; capitalising on our investment into our assets, and advocating for the identified priorities of the region,” Cr Brown said.

The proposed budget includes a number of key initiatives to deliver on the Council Plan:

  • Undertake the scoping study for the Hamilton Art Gallery;
  • Implement a pro-active strategy to promote and grow the Hamilton Regional Livestock Exchange;
  • Design stage two Hamilton CBD revitalisation project – Lonsdale St/Melville Oval/Gray Street;
  • Development of short, medium and long-term priority plans for recreation and leisure facilities in response to the findings of the Recreation and Leisure Strategy;
  • Implement key actions from 2018 energy audits at HILAC, Brown Street Business Centre, Hamilton Depot and Market Place; and
  • Continue advocacy on key Council priorities including State and Federal budgets and elections (State 2018 and Federal 2019).

The total Capital Works program of almost $33 million sees substantial investment in roads, bridges, footpaths and associated infrastructure and flood recovery works. This is a significant increase on previous capital works programs due to the floods impact of $15.682 million.

Highlights of the Capital Works Program include:

  • A continued significant investment into local roads, bridges and associated infrastructure;
  • Commence construction of the serviced industrial land;
  • Deliver year two of the flood impact repairs and reinstatement works;
  • Complete capping works at Elijah Street Landfill and implement gas treatment system; and
  • Implement Council Buildings Asset Management Strategy and commence works.

The Draft 2018/19 Operating Budget forecasts the delivery of an operating surplus of $13.839 million, much of which is related to flood support income, and Council anticipates to hold $7.451 million cash at 30 June 2019. Council does not propose to borrow any funds in 2018/19.

The municipal charge will increase from $192 to $195 (this is a 1.6 percent increase bringing the total collected to 10 percent of rate revenue). Rates will increase by the mandatory 2.25 percent set by the State Government, after Council again resolved not to seek a variation to the legislated rate cap for 2018/19.

Cr Brown said she was confident Council had been balanced in its approach with this budget.

“Overall, I am confident that we have put forward a financially responsible budget that still manages to invest in the future economic and social wellbeing of our region,” Cr Brown said.

“We are always focused on the continued delivery of quality services for the community but the reality is we are operating in a constrained financial environment. It is essential that we continue to review all our activities against identified community priorities and the ongoing service review and planning process assists with this.”

Cr Brown said the draft budget also set the scene for a number of key advocacy priorities and projects over the coming year for Council.

“Of particular focus is our ongoing advocacy to the State and Federal Governments on a range of local projects like the Hamilton CBD revitalisation including townships entrances, delivering improved sporting and recreational facilities, implementation of our digital strategy and improving passenger transport services for our region,” Cr Brown said.

“Council is confident the draft budget delivers fairness, responsibility and opportunity in equal measure. We’re keen to know what people think, and invite our community to participate in the budget submission process,” Cr Brown concluded.

Any person proposing to make a submission must do so in writing before 5.00pm on Tuesday 12 June 2018. Submissions should be addressed to the Chief Executive Officer, Southern Grampians Shire Council, Locked Bag 685, Hamilton 3300 or

Persons making submissions are requested to indicate whether they wish to be heard in support of their submission and whether they will attend in person and/or be represented by some other person.

Any submissions received will be considered at a Special Meeting of Council to be held at the Greater Hamilton Library on Thursday 21 June 2018 commencing at 5.30pm.

Adoption of the 2018/19 budget will be considered at a Special Meeting of Council to be held on Wednesday 27 June 2018 in the Council Chambers.

Copies of the budget are available for inspection at Council’s Brown Street and Market Place offices, at licensed Post Offices within the Shire (excluding Hamilton), the Hamilton Visitor Information Centre, Greater Hamilton Library, the mobile Library and on Council’s website.

Any person requiring further information concerning the budget or the making of a written submission is invited to contact Council’s Manager Finance, Belinda Johnson on 5573 0402.

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