A new program focused on maintenance of rural roads and an innovative push to grow the region are just some of the highlights of Strathbogie Shire Council’s 2017-18 budget and 2017-21 Council Plan, which was officially adopted last week.
Rates will remain capped at two per cent, while those eligible for the Victorian Government’s First Home Owners Grant of $20000 will receive two years of free rates if they build in the shire.
Mayor Amanda McClaren said Council understands the Shire has been known as a high-rating municipality in the past and a significant part of the rates revenue each year is committed to assets and infrastructure maintenance.
‘‘The Strathbogie Shire is a large area of more than 3300sq/km with more than 2500km of roads, 507 bridges and culverts as well as more than 160 buildings to maintain both now and into the future,’’ she said.
‘‘Council recognises that to share the ever increasing cost load, we need to grow and attract new residents, so this innovative ‘Rates Holiday for First Home Owners’ will help the Shire grow.’’
A total of $500000 has been committed to a significant new program upgrading Class 0 roads to Class 1 in the Road Management Plan, so that they can be regularly maintained.
Cr McClaren said this commitment is in addition to the regular roads management budget allocation and is aimed at improving road access for rural ratepayers with a Roads to Market economic approach.
About 67km of these priority roads will be re-classified, with half that amount to be upgraded within the next 12 months.
Council has also committed to road re-seals ($1.12million), road rehabilitation ($1.309million), road re-sheeting ($460000) as well as bridge work ($3.443million) and footpaths ($272000).
The new Budget, Council Plan and Strategic Resource Plan come eight months after the new Council was elected, with Councillors working hard at engaging with the community in a number of ways to form the Council Plan, which will help guide Council in the next four years.
‘‘Council wishes to thank all of the community who were actively involved in this strategic planning process. The Council Plan is full of ideas and initiatives that came directly from our community during the engagement processes,’’ Cr McClaren said.
Among these ideas are a number of sustainable projects, including:
Council has also revised its Strategic Resource Plan, which will establish a financial framework in the next four years to ensure Council’s strategic objectives are met.
Among the key infrastructure items in the 2017-18 Budget is a $50000 upgrade to the Nagambie Recreation Reserve amenities.
The 2017-18 Budget, 2017-2021 Council Plan and the Strategic Resource Plan can be viewed now on Council’s website www.strathbogie.vic.gov.au