Kyabram Free Press

Council releases $81m budget

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CAMPASPE Shire Council has released its $81.8 million proposed 2019-20 budget, which includes a $29.4 million capital works program and an operating surplus of $439,000.

Mayor Adrian Weston said it was a financiall­y responsibl­e document and continued to deliver existing services at current service levels.

‘‘This was a challengin­g budget to develop within the limits of the 2.5 per cent rate cap,’’ Cr Weston said.

‘‘Council delivers more than 100 activities to our community and we need to balance between those activities that the community needs and the funds available.’’

The rate rise will be 2.5 per cent in line with the Victorian government’s Fair Go Rates System.

‘‘Rate income is an important revenue stream at 45 per cent and allows council to maintain existing service levels,’’ Cr Weston said.

‘‘Waste charges are also important, at eight per cent of our revenue, funding the collection of kerbside bins, paying the state government’s landfill levy, operation of transfer stations, monitoring of former landfills and collection of street litter bins. The budget supports the introducti­on of food organics into the garden waste bin from July 1. Moving waste from landfill will reduce the impact on the environmen­t and turn this valuable resource into compost.’’

In Kyabram and surroundin­g towns, cash is being splashed on upgrades and renewal projects on roads and community spaces.

Breen Avenue Kyabram is set to get its own walking and cycling trail at an estimated cost of $708,500, of which $544,500 has been allocated in this proposed budget.

The Kyabram Plaza Theatre will receive a cash injection of $145,000 for a new roof, and the Kyabram Environmen­t Centre will get better access with a road sealing, with council looking to commit $101,000 to the project.

In Stanhope, drainage is expected to be upgraded at a cost of $68,000 while in Rushworth the streetscap­e renewal project will carry over from last year with a further $550,000 to prop it up.

The budget proposes new borrowings of $3.8 million to support three projects, bringing council’s overall debt to $8.1 million. Two projects – Waranga Trail and Murray River retaining wall — are dependent on funding and approvals, with borrowings to be taken if required.

The third project, extension of the council offices in Echuca, will require borrowings of $1.9 million, with constructi­on expected to start this financial year.

‘‘The major component of this project is being funded by Court Services Victoria, which will see the function room and shared spaces handed over, in return for an extension and new entry to the north of the building,’’ Cr Weston said.

‘‘This will achieve entry separation of court and council services, addressing current safety and security issues. In addition, council will add to the extension project to enable Echuca-based staff to move into the one building.

‘‘This will achieve the last stage of office relocation­s and achieve savings by completing both projects together.

‘‘This level of debt still keeps us well within the acceptable limits for a council of our size and structure.’’

Capital works program

The $29.4 million Capital Works Program supports more than 70 projects, a snapshot of some are:

■ $13.1 million to roads including:

$847,000 - Rushworth streetscap­e works, median strips, footpath, drainage, road surface, kerb and channel

$2,644,500 - Gravel resheeting of local roads

$1,544,500 - Resealing of local roads

$950,000 - Rochester, maintenanc­e to open concrete drains

$270,000 - Stormwater pipe and pit maintenanc­e program

$597,500 - Rushworth, Rushworth Murchison Road open drain maintenanc­e

■ $1.8 million to recreation and leisure including:

$51,000 - Lockington and Colbinabbi­n outdoor pools, repaint shell

$544,500 - Kyabram Breen Avenue, walking cycle trail

$46,500 - EWMAC, starting blocks

$128,500 - Campaspe Animal Shelter, kennel sound proofing, exercise area shade, reception works

$556,800 - EWMAC, ceiling replacemen­t and insulation

$1,583,000 - Echuca council offices extension

■ Operationa­l projects are also funded through the budget, some include:

Developing an Aquatic and Leisure Strategy;

Supporting the introducti­on of food waste into the garden organics bin service from 1 July;

Finalising the planning scheme amendment to implement the Echuca West Precinct Structure Plan;

Lobby for improved rail services on Echuca line.

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