Strathbogie Shire Council

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Council seeking community input

Council seeking community input

Strathbogie Shire Council is seeking community input into its 2020-21 Draft Budget, which proposes a 1.9 per cent rate increase and significant financial support to the community.

Mayor Cr Amanda McClaren said the proposed Budget had been prepared with the current COVID-19 challenges, along with recent storms, drought and bushfires, in mind.

““Should the Draft Budget be adopted in June, it would involve up to $320,000 of support to those affected most by COVID-19,” she said.

“This would be the equivalent of a rates freeze for 2020/21 but without the compounding impact for future years and would be focused across the entire community”

“The 1.9 per cent being proposed by the Council has considered a variety of mitigating factors and worked hard to balance community expectations and benefits with financial responsibilities.

“The proposed increase is below the 2 per cent allowed under the State Government’s Fair Go Rates Legislation and it is the third year Council has delivered an increase less than the cap,” she said.

“In terms of the $320,000 of financial support being proposed, if the Draft Budget is adopted, Council officers will be tasked with finding innovative and effective ways in which support can be delivered at ground level to allow our community to get through this unprecedented situation.”

Cr McClaren said Council recognised the COVID-19 pandemic was putting a huge strain on businesses.

As a result, the Draft Budget sees fees waived for registered businesses, including cafes and hairdressers while there will also be no fee for footpath trading.

The 2020-2021 Draft Budget provides $9.9 million in new capital works with improvements to roads, drainage, footpaths and pedestrian bridges high on the expenditure list.

Council will also be spending significantly on our parks, open spaces and streetscapes throughout the Shire.

It provides for an expenditure of $23.6 million on services including libraries, waste management, maintenance of roads, parks and gardens, animal management, maternal and child health, swimming pools and the arts and culture.

“We have worked hard to ensure we maintain existing service levels but deliver strong capital works across the Shire,” Cr McClaren said.

“The Draft Budget also includes details on capital expenditure allocations to improve and renew the Shire’s physical infrastructure, buildings and operational assets.

Cr McClaren said in addition, Council will simplify its rating structure by remove the fixed Municipal Charge with a corresponding change to the rate level so that rates are determined by valuations.

“This will not change the revenue available to Council to provide services to its community.”

She said all community members are encouraged to be part of the consultation on the Draft Budget by going online and filling out the submission form, by writing a submission and mailing it to Council, or emailing Council directly.

“I would encourage all residents to review the Draft Budget and be involved in the consultation process as it has never been more important that our community has input,” she said.

“People can request that their submission to be heard by Council, which means they come in and present to us, and anyone wishing to do that should indicate this on their submission so the appropriate arrangements can be made in line with social distancing requirements.”

Copies of the Draft Budget will be available on the Council’s website or hard copies can be provided by request from 6 May.

Submissions will close at 5pm on Wednesday 3 June 2020.

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