Benalla Rural City - 5 July: Council passes 2016-17 Budget keeping to 2.5 per cent rate cap
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 News>5 July: Council passes 2016-17 Budget keeping to 2.5 per cent rate cap  
5 July: Council passes 2016-17 Budget keeping to 2.5 per cent rate cap  Printer Friendly

The Council at its meeting on 29 June 2016 adopted the 2016-17 Budget in line with the State Government rate capping policy of 2.5%

The Municipal Charge has risen 2.4 per cent from $226.20 to $231.70.

The Waste Management Charge has increased by 9 per cent reflecting increasing landfill operating and rehabilitation costs. The number of waste services has increased from 6,804 in 2015-16 to 7,052 in 2016-17 following the introduction of the organics collection service.

The Council will maintain its level of services to the community funded by a budget of $31 million with an operating surplus of $2.433 million. The $7.913 million Capital Projects Program includes $3.9 million from external grants, $2 million net income from operations, and $500,000 in borrowings.

The Capital Works Program includes:
 Benalla Airport Redevelopment (Stage 1) $1,644,550
 Landfill Cell 2 Construction      $700,000
 Replacement of Road Grader      $450,000
 Benalla Business Growth (Enterprise Park) Subdivision Infrastructure      $184,000
 BPACC equipment replacement     $150,000

The 2016-17 Budget was prepared on the basis of the Strategic Resource Plan Debt Management Strategy to reduce Council debt by the end of the current Council term to an indebtedness ratio of less than 35 per cent. Indebtedness from borrowing is projected to be 32.9 per cent at year end.

Following submissions from the community during the consultation period for the 2016-17 Budget,the following allocations will be made:
 $10,000 to the Benalla Auto Club Inc
 $10,000 to the Benalla Business Network
 $10,000 to Benalla Street Art Inc and a further allocation of $5,000 available on request for an economic impact study of the 2017 Street Art Festival.

The Council also allocated $4,350 from the 2016-17 Mayoral and Councillor Allowances Budget to commission an artwork for the east facing wall of the Sir Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop Learning Centre in conjunction with the 2016 Benalla Festival.

Work will continue on preparing the following capital priority projects to “shovel ready” status for the incoming Council elected on 22 October 2016 to consider:
 Benalla Aquatic Centre redevelopment
 Benalla Business Growth (Enterprise Park) Project
 Benalla Visitor Information Centre Redevelopment
 Benalla Art Gallery Redevelopment

As part of the Council Plan 2013-17 (2016 Review) also adopted by the Council on 29 June 2016, the Benalla Landfill and Resource Recovery Centre has been elevated to priority project status in light of the establishment of the Benalla Landfill Development Strategy Project Steering Committee and State Government funding of $75,000 to undertake an investigation in to the site’s potential as a regional landfill servicing North East Victoria.

“There is less money available at all levels of government, with the Federal Government not likely to reinstate the indexation of Financial Assistance Grants, the loss of the State Government’s Country Roads and Bridges Program ($1m per annum for 4 years) or the Local Government Infrastructure Program ($1.9m over 4 years),” said Mayor Cr Justin King.

“We have taken the approach of doing the same with less through an internally driven strategy to reduce operational overheads, having made operational savings of $550,000 over the last two financial years and setting a target reduction of a further $500,000 for 2016-17 through a reduction in staff resources. The savings have been made without cutting services to the community, and this approach will ensure that our position does not deteriorate and that we are sustainable into the future,” Cr King said.

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