Wodonga Council’s draft budget includes an effective drop of 2.58 per cent to overall rates and charges with a significant reduction in the waste management levy of $112.
The reduction realises the council’s aim of addressing the Victorian Ombudsman’s recommendation regarding the levy in full within two years, one year earlier than prescribed.
This budget includes a proposed rate increase of 2.5 per cent, in line with the state rate cap, however, ratepayers will see a 2.58% decrease due to the waste management levy changes.
Wodonga Mayor Cr Anna Speedie said the budget continued to deliver while remaining fiscally prudent.
“This council continues to deliver budgets that are financially responsible with a continued plan of reducing rates, reducing debt and reducing borrowings all while ensuring we continue to service the needs of our growing city,” Cr Speedie said.
“For the seventh consecutive year, there are no new borrowings in this budget.
“Crucially, our assets continue to be well-managed and our renewals fully funded now and in the long-term capital plan. This draft budget includes $5.4 million for renewing our community assets.”
Cr Speedie said the capital program of $15 million would see major projects continued to be delivered across the city including the start of the library gallery redevelopment.
“This budget includes investment in major projects that will create opportunities for economic and jobs growth and continue to cater for our city’s strong growth,” Cr Speedie said.
“This includes investment in a gas gate at Logic which will attract larger and more diverse industries to this industrial precinct, generating significant employment and economic growth for our region.
“There are also critical road infrastructure upgrades including the Baranduda Boulevard-John Schubert Drive and Whytes Rd-Murray Valley Highway intersections.
“It includes our commitment to the Two Cities One Community partnership in working with AlburyCity and all levels of government on a pilot Regional Deal, building on the federal commitment of $3.2 million.”
Other significant capital items include the Lawrence St bridge replacement and road reconfiguration; car parking upgrades; and, the continuation of programs connecting footpaths, installing shade and shelters and playground renewals.
The capital works program for 2019-2020 will be $15 million, excluding projects that may be carried over from the 2018-2019 year, and includes $5 million in renewals.
Cr Speedie encouraged members of the community to have their say on the draft budget and the updated Council Plan.
The draft documents will be made available online with hard copies available for review at the council’s customer service centre in High St, community centres and Wodonga Library.
A community briefing session on the budget will be held on Monday, June 3 at 6pm at The Cube Wodonga where officers will present on the budget and answer questions.
Councillors will also hold an online Q&A on Facebook on Monday, May 27 from 5.30pm to 7pm.
More information - including all the budget documents and ways to have your say - is available at makewodongayours.com.au
To make an appointment to discuss any of the documents with someone from the council, please phone (02) 6022 9300.
Submissions in regard to the budget must be received by 5pm on Wednesday, June 12 and should be marked Draft Budget 2019-2020 either in writing or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Councillors will hear submissions on Monday, June 17.