Coun­cil spends up big

The Cobram Courier - - NEWS - By Pa­trick Tansey

‘‘It is a big sum of money and we have to get it right. The buck stops with us.’’

Those were the words of Cr Ed Cox which ringed around the Civic Cen­tre last Wed­nes­day when Moira Shire Coun­cil gath­ered to run the rule over its 2018-19 draft budget and 2018-22 Strate­gic Re­source Plan.

Mayor Li­bro Mus­tica said it was the big­gest cap­i­tal works project in the coun­cil’s his­tory.

‘‘We are com­mit­ting coun­cil to de­liver its largest ever cap­i­tal works pro­gram with a to­tal of $21.107 mil­lion of cap­i­tal works over the next 12 months, al­most 50 per cent big­ger than the cap­i­tal works pro­gram for the cur­rent fi­nan­cial year,’’ Cr Mus­tica said.

The big tick for Co­bram out of the draft budget is the im­ple­men­ta­tion of a vis­i­tor ser­vices strat­egy, be­gin­ning with a mo­bile vis­i­tor ser­vices van and the devel­op­ment of a pi­azza in the area sur­round­ing the ex­ist­ing Co­bram Vis­i­tor Information Cen­tre ($1.05 mil­lion).

The vis­i­tor ser­vices strat­egy paves the way for more vis­i­tor information points in lo­cal busi­nesses and around town, in­clud­ing the ex­ist­ing Vis­i­tor Information Cen­tre site, as well as other lo­ca­tions such as Thomp­sons Beach and Co­bram Li­brary.

It pro­poses to con­vert the im­me­di­ate area sur­round­ing the ex­ist­ing Vis­i­tor Information Cen­tre into a pi­azza, while the cen­tre could po­ten­tially be­come a cafe´ or sim­i­lar business to take ad­van­tage of the view over Fed­er­a­tion Park.

The plan to re­de­velop the site has been on the cards for some time. It was first pro­posed in the 2009 Co­bram Streetscape Plan.

Moira Shire also has $2 mil­lion to work with to up­grade and ex­pand courts, pitches, ovals, ac­cess, light­ing and build­ings at com­mu­nity re­cre­ation re­serves, in­clud­ing the Apex Park soc­cer pavil­ion; light­ing at Co­bram, Nathalia, Nu­murkah and Yar­ra­wonga sports fa­cil­i­ties; and scop­ing new change rooms at Tungamah.

In­ter­est­ingly, the Apex Park pavil­ion is also Co­bram’s des­ig­nated emer­gency meet­ing point and the toi­let, show­ers and light­ing will be used when an emer­gency gath­er­ing is re­quired.

Moira Shire Coun­cil is now seek­ing com­mu­nity, business and stake­holder feed­back fol­low­ing the re­lease of its draft 2018-19 budget and 2018-22 Strate­gic Re­source Plan.

Cr Mus­tica said both the draft 2018-19 budget and the Strate­gic Re­source Plan aimed to balance the many and of­ten com­pet­ing needs of the Moira com­mu­nity and the chal­lenges of a rel­a­tively small pop­u­la­tion dis­persed across a large ge­o­graph­i­cal area.

‘‘The budget de­tails what we in­tend to de­liver over the next 12 months, the SRP pro­vides an out­look for the next four years — they should be con­sid­ered to­gether,’’ Cr Mus­tica said.

‘‘The draft budget will see coun­cil con­tinue to de­liver more than 100 ser­vices through­out the shire along with the largest ever cap­i­tal works pro­gram.’’

Coun­cil did not pro­pose new bor­row­ings in the cur­rent year.

‘‘To­tal rate rev­enue will increase by 2.25 per cent in line with the Vic­to­rian Government rate cap and coun­cil-set fees and charges will increase by three per cent,’’ Cr Mus­tica said.

‘‘There will be a de­crease in the en­vi­ron­men­tal levy and re­cy­cling bin col­lec­tion charges and an increase in kerb­side gen­eral waste and or­ganic bin col­lec­tion charges, but over­all ser­vice charges will only increase by 2.25 per cent in line with rate cap­ping.

‘‘These changes match the proposals in our draft Rat­ing and Ser­vice Charges Strat­egy, which is also cur­rently out for com­mu­nity feed­back.’’

Other key projects in the shire in­clude $5 mil­lion to main­tain and im­prove the 4000 km lo­cal road net­work, par­tic­u­larly the widen­ing of Nar­ing Rd and im­prove­ments to Hum­ber­stone St, Nathalia; while Yar­ra­wonga will see a $5.4 mil­lion devel­op­ment of the Lake Mul­wala fore­shore, de­sign of the Mul­ti­sport Sta­dium ($120 000) and li­brary ($100 000) and a new boat ramp ($740 000).

How it will work: Moira Shire’s strate­gic ob­jec­tive lists where the money will be spent.

Pro­posed works: Cap­i­tal projects pro­posed around Moira Shire in the 2018-19 draft budget.

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