A NUMBER of community projects were winners in the Buloke Shire Council's $39.9 million annual budget adopted at last week's meeting.
The Annual Budget 2021/22 includes proposed capital expenditure allocations such as $7.4 million on roads, $6.5 million for streetscapes and riverfronts, $2 million on lighting improvements, $2.8 million on the new Buloke Play spaces trail and $387,000 on other improvements around the municipal.
Ten submission were received and after some consideration, a contribution of $2,000 was allocated to each Community Neighbourhood House in the Buloke network and $1,000 to the Buloke Tourism Board.
Buloke Shire mayor Cr Daryl Warren acknowledged that whilst it is a difficult time for everyone in the community, council has been able to prepare a fair budget that supports the growth of shire.
"This is a balanced budget that continues to enrich the lives of residents and place our region as a great place to visit and move to," he said.
Council also committed to a number of budget initiatives including:
- Extension of the 2020/21 support to Lake Committees with an annual allocation to help pay for water top-up costs
- Attracting funding for new roles servicing youth services, volunteer services, hospitality support and apprentices
- The development of a masterplan for Birchip Community Leisure Centre and increased investment into designs for the forward capital works program
- Continued implementation of the Local Government Act, including development of a Workforce Plan and Gender Equality Action Plan
The Budget includes a rate increase of 1.5 per cent, which is in line with the cap set by the Fair Go Rates System (FGRS).
The council has revised its rating differentials again this year, with 70 per cent differential rate for farmland adopted, down from 80 per cent in 2020/21.
There is no increase to the waste service charge in this budget year, with full cost recovery is maintained.
"The process of developing the budget has been a challenging task," Cr Warren said.
"Faced with farm property values rising above 20 per cent, the councillors and staff have used the available tools of our Revenue and Rating Strategy to frame a budget that is, we believe equitable for all sectors of the Buloke Shire.
"All the while, we were preparing a second budget under the economic pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic."
The council also adopted its Long-Term Community Vision and Council Plan 2021-25, Revenue and Rating Plan and Financial Plan at the meeting on June 16.
You can view the Annual Budget 2021/22 and all adopted publications on council's website or collect a hard copy at the Wycheproof Customer Service Centre.