SOUTH Gippsland Shire Council’s 2021/2022 budget is “a positive budget, one in which we are in the black” according to the municipality’s administration panel chair Julie Eisenbise.
Ms Eisenbise, together with her fellow administrators Christian Zahra and Rick Brown, formally adopted the Budget 2021/22, Financial Plan 2021/22 to 2030/31 and the Council Plan’s 2021/22 annual initiatives at the additional open council meeting held on Wednesday June 23, 2021.
“These documents underpin the future direction of Council and are the foundation for the majority of projects and services provided by Council to the community,” Ms Eisenbise said.
“The Budget and Financial Plan identifies costs associated with providing these essential assets and services and embodies aspirations for the year ahead and beyond.
“There are other municipalities in the State that are not in the black, and we are very proud that South Gippsland has stayed in this position,” she said.
The Budget includes what the panel describes as “key figures for the 2020//2021 financial year; an operating budget of $69.5 million and a capital works program of $34.2 million – the largest program South Gippsland has had in recent years.”
In their role as the shire’s council, the panel of three Victorian Government-appointed administrators voted to apply the Government’s advisory 1.5 per cent rate cap set by under the Fair Go Rates System, which will see average rates rise by this amount.
The property valuation function is performed internally at South Gippsland Shire Council and is expected to transition to the Victorian Valuer General’s office in the 2022/23 financial year.
Community submissions on the 2021/2022 budget resulted in two extra projects being added to the budget, including $30,000 towards a drainage study for Fish Creek, and $70,000 towards Councillor transition and onboarding.
Other initiatives and smaller projects raised in public submissions will be implemented through existing allocated funding.
The annual initiatives of the Council Plan outline the next actions required to achieve the four key strategic areas of focus for Council and the community.
These set the context for Council to progress a number of significant projects across the municipality with the goal of ensuring South Gippsland remains a great place to live and attract economic investment and visitation.
Ms Eisenbise said “the 2021/22 Budget is a responsible financial plan to deliver Council’s services and an ambitious capital works program, while complying with the Victorian Government’s advisory rate cap of 1.5 per cent.
“Many of Council’s costs increase annually beyond 1.5 per cent, such as the costs of construction and renewal of our assets, contracts to deliver key services, and Council’s Enterprise Agreement,” she said.
“As a result of reviewing our services and ensuring efficiencies in our operations are maintained, I am pleased that we have been able to maintain service delivery without the need to apply for an exemption to the rate cap.
“This is the lowest rate increase South Gippsland has experienced in many years,”
“Thank you to all our submitters for their personal contribution to the Budget,” Ms Eisenbise said.
“The time taken, and the efforts put in for these submissions were evident in the high quality of submissions and presentations, and I would like to thank each of the submitters for contributing to the budget process.
“We encourage residents and ratepayers to examine the 2021/20-22 budget document, and to read the explanatory notes accompanying those parts that catch community members’ eye,” she said.
“There are big projects included in the budget, like the Korumburra Hub and streetscape, the Great Southern Rail Trail, and the Leongatha Community Precinct, as well as literally hundreds of smaller projects conducted by the shire.”
South Gippsland Shire 2021/2022 Rates Scale
South Gippsland Shire Council’s differential rates are applied as a percentage per dollar of each rateable property’s Capital Improved Value (CIV) in each category.
The 2021/2022 differential rates scale includes:
- General / Residential Properties; 0.439174 cents in the dollar of CIV.
- Industrial Properties; 0.461133 cents in the dollar of CIV.
- Commercial Properties; 0. 461133 cents in the dollar of CIV.
- Farming Properties; 0.307442 cents in the dollar of CIV.
- Vacant Rural Properties; 0.307442 cents in the dollar of CIV.
- Other Vacant Properties; 0.878348 cents in the dollar of CIV.
- Cultural and Recreational Properties; 0.219587 cents in the dollar of CIV.
The Rural Residential category has now been phased out and properties of this type now fall within General / Residential Properties.
South Gippsland Shire Council’s adopted 2021/2022 Annual Budget, the 2021/2022 Financial Plan, and the Council Plan’s 2021/2022 Annual Initiatives are available on the council’s website. Look for Key Council Documents under the Your Council button at www.southgippsland.vic.gov.au