With a large road network to maintain and a relatively small ratepayer base to fund it, advocating for other funding opportunities is vital, according to Mitchell Shire Mayor Rhonda Sanderson.
Council maintains a 1383km network of sealed (668km) and unsealed (715km) roads. This equates to each rateable property in Mitchell Shire funding 78.2m of road, which is significantly higher than other councils, such as the City of Whittlesea, which has 14.9m of roads to maintain per rateable property, City of Darebin (7.7m) and City of Port Phillip (4.7 metresm).
Mitchell Shire Mayor Rhonda Sanderson said the data highlighted how important advocating for extra funding was.
‘‘We have a really large road network and, at the moment, a relatively small ratepayer base to fund new roads and improve existing roads,’’ Cr Sanderson said.
‘‘As our population increases, and in turn our ratepayer base grows, we should start to see these figures improve. However, in the meantime it is vital that Council looks at other ways to fund these road projects.
‘‘While the State Government removed close to $1million per year with the discontinuation of the Country Roads and Bridges Program, Council has more than doubled our contribution to road improvements and upgrades this financial year.
‘‘In our 2017/18 Council budget we allocated $6.4million to build, fix or improve roads, footpaths, bridges and drains — that’s 22 per cent of our whole capital budget. A further $4.2million has been allocated to road maintenance.
‘‘We do the best job we can with the limited resources at our disposal and we are always looking at ways to secure more funding for roads projects.’’
Cr Sanderson said roads and road maintenance were one of Council’s key advocacy priorities.
‘‘We know that roads are really important to our community and that’s why we advocate strongly to secure extra funding that can improve the state of roads in our municipality, including pushing for an increase to the Federal Government’s Roads to Recovery Grant Funding Program and reinstating the State Government’s Country Roads and Bridges Program,’’ Cr Sanderson said.
In the next 30 years, Cr Sanderson said, Mitchell Shire’s population is expected to reach 230000 people.
For more information on roads in Mitchell Shire, visit the website www.mitchellshire.vic.gov.au