News

Feedback sought on council budget

By David Rak

Mitchell Shire Council is inviting the community to provide input on the draft budget 2020-21 and Draft Strategic Resource Plan (DSRP) 2021-2024.

The community assisted in setting the budget through the Your Budget Mix initiative last year.

Council heard from more than 200 residents during this process to ensure council was prioritising to the expectations of the community.

The $97.76 million draft budget is focused on continuing to plan for the future and avoid growing pains as the shire’s population is rapidly growing towards 53 000 people.

As part of the budget process, council reviews the fees and charge schedule in line with industry and local government benchmarking. Costs which have risen are a direct reflection on the costs to council to run that service.

On average, fees and charges have increased by 2.5 per cent. Council has made this decision in order to cover the costs to the community.

The waste charges have risen by 8.6 per cent in order to cover the costs of operation. Council said this was necessary to ensure it could continue to provide a high-quality waste and recycling service.

The cost of waste and recycling service delivery is charged to community members through an annual waste charge. This cost reflects the total cost in operating council’s waste and recycling services.

Rates have risen by 2 per cent in line with the Victorian Government’s mandated rate cap. This budget aims to balance, maintain and expand services and infrastructure across the shire.

Council has also released the DSRP. This plan is reviewed annually and sets financial and non-financial targets.

The DSRP guides council’s commitment to long-term financial sustainability, delivering key services for current and future communities, accountability and working within the annual rate cap.

In a statement, council said Mitchell Shire continued to face a number of key challenges as the community was made up of both rapidly-growing rural and urban areas.

“Council understands we need to plan appropriate services for these rapidly-growing communities,” the statement said.

“Now more than ever, Mitchell Shire needs increased state and federal government funding invested into our community.

“We will continue to advocate on behalf of our community to attract more grants to support our growth and the impacts on ratepayers.”

You can provide your input at engagingmitchellshire.com or by phoning 5734 6200. Submissions close April 22.