Big projects in NGSC budget
Northern Grampians Shire Council has included a 2.25 percent rate rise in its 2018-19 budget, in line with a State Government-imposed rate cap.
Mayor Tony Driscoll said the budget process required significant planning and built on the council’s vision for the future, outlined in its 2017-21 council plan.
Councillors have given in-principle support for the budget, which is now open for public comment.
The budget includes several significant projects, including: $1.7-million to implement a Halls Gap Master Plan, $1.4-million to revitalise Stawell’s Main Street, $300,000 for St Arnaud Civic Precinct, and $200,000 for Great Western Public Park and Reserve.
“It should be noted that while all of the projects listed are dependent upon the financial support of both State and Federal Government, council is confident that its strong advocacy program and positive relationships with both levels of government will secure backing for the majority of these capital works,” Cr Driscoll said.
He said the final budget documents included a significant amount of community consultation.
“The budget process began in January when we had a series of community meetings in Stawell, St Arnaud, Great Western and Halls Gap asking for community input,” he said.
“With this input in mind, the budget has been developed and once again our community is being called upon for their comments.” Cr Driscoll said residents could provide feedback in several ways, including via a form on the council’s website, www.ngshire.vic.gov.au.
People can also email comments to ng[email protected]shire.vic.gov.au or submit written comments at council customer service centres at Stawell and St Arnaud.
“We can see by some of the projects that have been included in the budget how important community input is,” Cr Driscoll said.
Priorities for St Arnaud include renewal of the town hall kitchen, development of St Arnaud Market Square and stage two works on Queen Mary Gardens.
Projects in Stawell include revitalisation of Stawell’s central business district and significant works at North Park, including upgrading club rooms and netball court renewal.
“Council will continue to provide the services that residents of our shire know and love, however, valuation of our assets shows there is a large increase in the value of farming land which will result in rate increases to farmers,” Cr Driscoll said.
“Council advocates for the people who live and work in our region and we are already working on this issue.
“If you are a farmer or producer, we want your ideas, we are talking to the Victorian Farmers Federation and have sought meetings with the State Government and Minister for Local Government.”