The Mirror News

Comments invited on shire’s 2020/21 draft budget

COMMENTS are invited from the community on the South Gippsland Shire’s draft annual budget for 2020/2021 by 5 pm on Thursday May 28, 2020.

The draft budget is now available on the shire’s website at www.southgippsland.vic.gov.au

The 82-page document was endorsed by the State Government-appointed administration panel operating as the council at the ordinary meeting held with COVID-19-driven social distancing at Leongatha on Wednesday April 22, 2020.

In direct response to the global COVID-19 pandemic the draft budget includes a proposed $2 million Community Support Package designed to help both affected individuals as well as local businesses.

Following consideration of any public submissions received and possible subsequent changes, the final 2020/2021 budget will come up for adoption at the ordinary council meeting on Wednesday June 24 before being presented to Victorian Local Government Minister Adem Somyurek by Tuesday June 30, 2020.

Rate increase capped at 2%

South Gippsland ratepayers may face a two per cent rise in their council rates bill, in line with the cap set by Mr Somyurek for this financial year, which, along with municipal charges such as waste management, would raise a total of $45.25 million.

This amount would form part of the municipality’s likely $71.54 million operating income, less the planned operating expenditure of $62.14 million, with a surplus of $9.4 million and an expected operating result of $7.34 million.

For 2019/2020, the Minister capped rates at 2.5 per cent, which was forecast to generate $43.87 million in rates and charges for South Gippsland Shire.

The 2020/2021 draft budget allocates $31.77 million towards the shire’s planned capital works program, which includes $21.51 million of council funding, $3.6 million in borrowings and $6.65 million in anticipated Federal and State grants.

In the draft budget’s introduction administration panel chair Julie Eisenbise described the budget as “a fundamental document for Council’s function as it outlines our future financial and other resource planning to support the delivery of the 2020/2024 Council Plan.

“At its core, the Council Budget notes our aspirations for the year ahead – how we intend to serve our community with the services and facilities we provide,” she stated.

“This year has been no exception when it comes to thoughtfully balancing community needs and the income available to us.

“Every service and facility that Council provides must be backed by appropriate funds, and the Council Budget plans this accordingly.

“This year has been dramatically altered with the COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying changes that have impacted the lives of every one of us.”

Ms Eisenbise said she and her fellow administrators, Rick Brown, and Christian Zahra, “believe that investing in the local community is vitally important when responding to COVID-19 as it helps to stimulate the economic recovery process and generate local employment opportunities.

“I am pleased to present the Council Budget for community comment,” she said.

“The Council Budget has been prepared after many months work from our staff and long deliberation by the administrators, particularly given the COVID-19 crisis.

“We are now inviting community members to provide their views on the Draft Budget,” Ms Eisenbise said.

“I hope many community members will take part in this review as it ensures that we are supporting our community in the best way possible during this uncertain time.”

Administrator Brown said South Gippsland Shire “is more fortunate than other [Victorian municipalities] and the challenges that face us are substantial but not so much as in other parts of the State.

“People can take confidence as we have a strong balance sheet and the capacity to respond to those challenges,” he said.

Administrator Zahra said “South Gippsland is the envy of many other shires because of its sound financial position, which is holding us in good stead to manage during the current crisis and in to the future.”

Projects in the Draft Budget

Projects listed in the 2020/2021 draft budget include $6.6 million to reseal roads, $3.3 million for footpaths, $200,000 for the Early Years Renewal Program to revamp kindergartens, and $2.9 million to extend the Great Southern Rail Trail from Leongatha to Nyora.

The draft budget has also set aside $4.2 million for Leongatha’s Bair Street, $1 million towards the Korumburra Streetscape plan and $5 million for the Korumburra Community Hub.

There is $2.9 million earmarked for the Mirboo North Pool renovation to be funded from borrowings through the Victorian Sport and Recreation Infrastructure Loan Scheme, and $600,000 for the Venus Bay Activity Centre.

Ms Eisenbise said she was “pleased to present the Council Budget for community review.

“The Council Budget has been prepared after many months work from our staff and Administrator deliberation, particularly given the COVID-19 crisis.

“We are now inviting community members to provide their review of the Draft Budget,” she said.

“I hope many community members will take part in this review as it ensures that we are supporting our community in the best way possible during this uncertain time.”

Proposed Rates for 2020/2021

South Gippsland Shire Council’s differential rates are applied as a percentage of each rateable property’s Capital Improved Value (CIV) in each category.

Property valuations are undertaken annually in Victoria.

The next General Valuation will be effective from 1 July 1, 2020 and appear on the 2020/2021 Rate Notices.

This valuation is based on levels of value that reflect the prevailing market conditions as at January 1, 2020 as per State legislation.

The valuation reflects relativity between property values but does not increase or decrease the total amount of rates collected.

The proposed rates for the 2020/201-21 financial year are as follows:

  • General / Residential Properties, 0.474112 cents in the dollar of CIV.
  • Industrial Properties, now including Extractive Industries, and Infrastructure and Utilities Properties, 0.497818 cents in the dollar of CIV.
  • Commercial Properties, 0.497818 cents in the dollar of CIV.
  • Farm Properties, 0.331879 cents in the dollar of CIV.
  • Rural Residential Properties, 0.426701 cents in the dollar of CIV.
  • Vacant Rural Properties, 0.343793 0.331879 cents in the dollar of CIV.
  • Vacant Other Properties, 0.948224 cents in the dollar of CIV.
  • Cultural and Recreational Properties, 0.237056 cents in the dollar of CIV.

Make a Draft Budget submission

See the South Gippsland Shire Council’s draft budget for 2020/2021 on the shire’s website at www.southgippsland.vic.gov.au

Hard copies are available from the shire on 5662 9200.

Those wishing to make a submission on the draft budget may do so via email to submission@southgippsland.vic.gov.au or in writing to the Chief Executive Officer, South Gippsland Shire Council, Private Bag 4, Leongatha VIC 3953.

All submissions must be received by 5.00pm on Thursday May 28, 2020.

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