COUNCILLORS have adopted Baw Baw’s 2015/16 budget, rating strategy, council plan and long term financial strategy.
First published in the 26 June 2015 edition of the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen. Available free from retailers now.
At their meeting on Wednesday night, councillors voted unanimously to support the documents.
The approval locks in the 3.6 per cent increase to rates, which was put to the public last month.
The new budget includes $11 million in roads funding, $1.3 million for works on drains, almost $400,000 for footpath projects and $8.1 million for the Warragul Leisure Centre redevelopment.
Mount Worth ward councillor Murray Cook said the updated council plan set the agenda of the council for the next decade, and work done during the financial year means the council now knows almost everything it owns.
“This is a 10-year plan – a long term infrastructure plan that takes us up to 2025,” Cr Cook said.
“It’s important to point out I’ve had a long experience with local government and these plans are the best I’ve seen over that period of time.
“The asset plan, for just about the first time we know everything that’s there; everything we own, everything we look after.”
Mayor Debbie Brown thanked the community for its feedback on the changes in a media release.
“It is the contribution of the community that demonstrates that this is truly a democratic process,” Cr Brown said.
“The budget features a total operating expenditure of $64.4 million; a $35.2 million capital works program, including $5.7 million carried forward.
“We’re now three years into our term and I think that it is clear to the community that we have focused on providing funding for our assets, particularly roads and drains, on continuing to improve the council’s financial position, and still keeping rate increases to an affordable level for our residents.
“The Council is conscious that future budgets will be framed within the constraints of rate capping. In this context it was vital that all the pieces were in place to have finances and assets ship-shape.”
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