News item release date: Tuesday, 3 June 2014
Hobsons Bay City Council’s proposed 2014-2015 budget will deliver $30.5 million in spending on new capital works and improving local infrastructure. Released for public comment, the proposed budget includes an operational surplus of $6.1 million and is based on an average rate increase of 5 per cent.
Mayor of Hobsons Bay Councillor Sandra Wilson said the Council is taking advantage of record low interest rates to borrow $7.3 million to accelerate its capital works program.
“The borrowings will be applied to an accelerated program of capital works, with $5.5 million to be spent on roads, including $700,000 to start fixing Racecourse Road, and increased spending on renewal and maintenance of our footpaths, drains, and community facilities,” Cr Wilson said.
“We will be spending more than $1 million on new cycleways and shared paths, getting on with stage three of the Pier Street upgrade, improving AB Shaw Reserve, while also working on Jack Madigan Reserve and the Newport Youth Library and Seniors project.
“This is a responsible budget based on a sound 10-year financial plan, the first time this Council has developed such a forward looking view of its finances.
“Based on this plan, it is an opportune time to use borrowings to fund new assets for the benefit of future generations. The Council is well placed to service the debt and repay the loans,” Cr Wilson said.
The Victorian Auditor General uses an indicator to measure relative debt by local governments. On this indicator, Hobsons Bay City Council is firmly in the ‘low risk’ category, with low levels of debt and a sound capacity to repay new borrowings.
“Our funding priorities this year are guided by the community. Between January and March this year, the Council undertook extensive consultation, through a survey and a series of community information sessions,” Cr Wilson said.
“This is reflected in the significant investment in the budget towards improving local infrastructure and open spaces.”
Some key capital works include:
AB Shaw Reserve & playground $410,000
Apex Park car park $250,00
Pier Street (Stage 3) $500,000
Woods and Lohse Reserve $250,000
Cycleways/Shared Paths $1,010,000
- Madigan Reserve $800,000
Vibrant Villages improvements to shopping strips $300,000
Sports pavilion upgrades $500,000
Newport Seniors Youth and Library $3,800,000
Laneways rehabilitation $150,000
Energy efficiency projects $600,000
The core works program includes:
The proposed budget includes a number of initiatives that plan for the future of Hobsons Bay, including:
Economic Development strategy
Integrated Transport Strategy
Open Space Strategy
On line community engagement
“The economic development strategy will look at the structural adjustment issues we face as a municipality and what support services Council could deliver to ensure we are in the best possible position to attract innovative new industries and support our existing businesses.”
The Mayor said the Council would increase its rates by 5 per cent, but is keeping all its waste management charges the same.
“The rate increase allows us to maintain existing service levels, fund a number of new initiatives and continue to allocate additional funds to renew Council’s infrastructure.
“The rate increase has been kept in line with the level forecast last year, despite significant budget impacts including reductions in Victorian Grants Commission and other capital funding.
“Individual ratepayers may see a different increase in their rates as new property valuations across the city are applied, but Council has also tried to smooth the impact where possible.
“The Council has also increased its support for pensioners providing a $30 ($25 in 2013-14) waiver of rates to approved pension card holders and $50 ($45 in 2013-2014) for holders of a Department of Veterans Affairs Gold Card, in addition to the State Government rebate,” Cr Wilson said.
The community is now invited to have its say on the proposed budget before it is formally adopted in June.
Anyone can make comment in writing, on any proposal contained in the budget. Written submissions must be received by 5.00pm, Wednesday 4th June 2014, and should indicate if you (or a nominated representative) wish to appear in person to be heard by the Council in support of your submission.
Written submissions can be lodged at Hobsons Bay City Council, 115 Civic Parade, Altona or posted to P.O. Box 21, Altona, 3018.
You may also make a submission by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The proposed budget is available for inspection at the Hobsons Bay Civic Centre, all Hobsons Bay library branches and online at www.hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au
It is expected the final Budget 2014-2015 will be adopted on Tuesday, 24th June 2014.