Benalla Council adopts budget and 10-year financial plan

Well funded: Benalla Rural City Council adopted its 2022/23 budget at Wednesday night’s Council Meeting. Photo by Simon Ruppert

Benalla Rural City Council will enter the 2022/23 financial year in a strong position thanks to reduced wage costs and external capital works funding.

Council chief executive officer Dom Testoni said the 2022/23 Budget, adopted by the council on Wednesday, June 29, forecast a $1.529 million surplus.

“Our cash position over the term of the Budget remains positive and positions us to invest in future years for continued growth while addressing legacy issues,” Mr Testoni said.

“The $1.5 million surplus is, however, largely due to the receipt of $7.644 million of capital grant income from the state and federal governments.

“Increased external assistance from other levels of government will be required to ensure the long-term financial sustainability of Benalla Rural City and similar-sized councils across Victoria.

“Total employee costs are forecast to decrease by 14 per cent from $14.197 million to $12.138 million, primarily due to council’s withdrawal from aged and disability services and the end of the ‘Working for Victoria’ employment program.”

The Budget includes capital works of $16.053 million.

Works include $2.821 million on roads, $420,000 on bridges and $600,000 on footpaths.

Drainage works total $948,000, $170,000 is allocated to a playground renewal program and $100,000 to dog-park construction costs.

Benalla Mayor Bernie Hearn said following extensive community consultation several initiatives had been added to the Budget.

“These include progressing designs for the Benalla Indoor Recreation Centre redevelopment, developing concept plans to link the station precinct to the Benalla CBD, the development of an Economic Diversification Plan and reviewing the Environmental Strategy and Climate Change Adaptation Plan 2013-2025,” Cr Hearn said.

Base rate revenue for the period will increase by 1.75 per cent in accordance with the state government’s Fair Go Rates system, while Waste Management charges increase by five per cent.

The council also adopted its 10-year financial plan at Wednesday’s meeting.