The Council is promising to turn an underlying deficit into a surplus in its 2019 draft budget released yesterday.
More than $14 million in capital works and a decrease in staff wages are also included in what CEO Dr Tim Harrison calls a budget focusing on investing within the community.
“We have taken the Council back to basics – we have reduced staff costs and increased road and capital works expenditure, all in an effort to improve the Council’s financial sustainability,” Dr Harrison said.
The draft budget was endorsed and released for public comment after a special Council meeting on Tuesday night at the Shire Hall.
Rural towns will benefit greatly from the budget which includes:
- $350,000 for the Elmhurst Hall redevelopment;
- $400,000 for female-friendly amenities at the Willaura Recreation Reserve;
- $750,000 for upgrades to the Buangor-Ben Nevis Road;
- $909,000 on bridge upgrades;
- $50,000 on rural halls upgrades.
It also features a $534,000 reduction in the salaries budget, a surplus of $3.214 million with an underlying result of a $155,000 deficit (an improvement from the deficit of $3.873 million last year), a doubling of grants to hall committees and recreation reserves to $58,600 and $959,763 for arts, culture and heritage.
The budget includes a 2.5% rate rise, in line with the State Government’s Fair Go Rates System Dr Harrison said.
“Council is mindful to keep rate rises within the cap but it is important that rates rise by 2.5% each year to ensure inflationary impacts do not erode our capacity to manage recurrent expenditure or deliver infrastructure and services to the community,” he said.
The municipality has until Friday June 7 at 5.15pm to comment on the draft budget, available HERE and from its office at 59 Vincent Street, Ararat.
Another special meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday 11 June to hear public submissions on the draft.
Council asks locals who wish to comment on the budget to put it in writing and indicate within it if you wish to speak at the June 11 meeting.
To make a submission on the draft budget, please post it to Ararat Rural City Council, PO Box 246, Ararat, 3377, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org, or drop it off in person at the Council office at 59 Vincent Street, Ararat. Submissions close Friday 7 June at 5.15pm.
The budget will be considered for adoption at the regular Council meeting to be held on Tuesday June 25.
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