News

New budget released by Mitchell Shire Council

By David Rak

Mitchell Shire Council will increase its sealed roads program, continue to improve road and footpath linkages and keep the doors open to outdoor pools for free under its proposed 2020-21 budget.

The budget aims to ensure council can manage both the growing pains of being the fastest-growing municipality in Victoria and opportunities that come with rapid growth.

The community greatly assisted in setting the draft budget 2020-21 through the Your Budget Mix initiative last year, with more than 200 responses received online and through community engagement.

Council is proposing a capital works program of $24.28 million, plus $7.83 million in carry forward works, which provides a total program of $32.11 million.

Highlights of the capital works program for 2020-21 funded by council in partnership with state and Commonwealth grants include:

● roads and bridges (renewal and upgrade) – $5.28 million ($1.18 million grant funded);

● park, open space and streetscapes - $4.81 million ($4.21 million grant funded);

● recreation, leisure and community facilities - $2.92 million ($1.07 million grant funded);

● buildings - $2.11 million ($1.40 million grant funded);

● strategic land acquisition - $2.10 million;

● waste management - $1 million;

● information technology - $981 000;

● footpath and cycleways - $895 000; and

● library book renewals - $180 000.

The sealed roads budget will increase to $4.5 million, up from $3.8 million in the 2019-20 budget, to continue works across the entire municipality.

The capital works program will help council maintain or upgrade roads, buildings, footpaths, cycleways and missing footpath links across the shire.

The draft budget 2020-21 also considers the rapidly-growing future of Mitchell Shire. About $4.88 million has been set aside for new projects to be delivered during 2020-21.

Free entry to outdoor pools will continue next summer. The 2019-2020 season saw bumper crowds at outdoor pools, despite some cooler days.

Council is set to continue to focus on township beautification, improving garden beds and reviewing the Mitchell open space strategy.

Things have been moving quickly with C0VID-19 (coronavirus) and this is likely to impact Mitchell Shire Council’s draft budget.

In a statement, council said it would need to better understand the longer term impact of COVID-19 on the community and council operations.

“The federal and state governments have advised they will delay their budgets. This may impact on our revenue,” the statement said.

“By law, our budget for 2020/21 must be adopted by June 30. At the time of going to print, this has not changed for local government. We are therefore continuing to call for formal submissions to our draft budget.

“If major changes are required, we will consider that as part of the next stage of our budget adoption process.

“It is still important for people to get involved. We want to hear from you. We're not holding face-to-face sessions this year, but we do have other ways you can take part.”

The draft budget is open for public comment until April 22.

For more information or to provide input, visit engagingmitchellshire.com or phone 5734 6200.