By the Bass Coast Shire Council

BASS Coast Shire Council has released its Proposed Budget 2021/22 for community feedback.

The Proposed Budget projects an operating surplus of $9.18 million for 2021/22 and a balanced Funding Statement position. It offers a record capital works program of $35.8 million, which includes an array of major strategic projects for delivery across a number of different locations within the Shire. A rate cap increase of 1.5% has been maintained as mandated by the State Government.

While Council’s financial position for 2021/22 is a surplus result, this has been adversely impacted through maintaining the 1.5% rate cap as set by the State Government, coupled with predicted low interest revenue within the current economic environment. Despite these challenges, Council is committed to delivering critical services, public amenity benefits and delivering a significant capital expenditure program. As a result, Council is proposing to utilise its reserve balances and borrowing capacity to support the planned delivery of major intergenerational capital projects over the coming years. A major capital project planned for delivery in the 2021/22 financial year is the Cowes Cultural and Community Centre, with $15 million included in the Proposed Budget over the next two years.

The Proposed Budget 2021/22 provides for the following total income and expenditure (cash basis):

  • Total Expenditure – $104 million
  • Operations – $66.4 million
  • Capital Works – $35.8 million
  • Debt Servicing – $1.8 million
  • Rates and Charges – $67.2 million
  • Grants and Subsidies – $15 million
  • Borrowings – $10.3 million
  • Fees and Charges – $7.2 million
  • Transfers from Reserves – $1.6 million
  • Contributions – $900,000
  • Asset Sales – $700,000
  • Interest – $600,000
  • Other Revenue – $600,000

New funding has been provided in the proposed operating budget for the following strategic plans, minor projects and major precincts:

  • Development of Bass Coast Tracks and Trails strategy – $120,000
  • Complete Local Law review – $50,000
  • Development of Settlement and Housing Strategy – $200,000
  • Feasibility and Design of Public Wi-Fi – $100,000

Council’s investment in capital projects continues to be a priority with a proposed program of $35.8 million. This program includes:

  • Land improvements and associated building works – $19.8 million
  • Infrastructure works such as pathways, roads, drainage, open space and recreation facilities – $7.3 million
  • The replacement of plant, fleet and equipment – $2.6 million

More specifically, the proposed capital budget 2021/22 includes:

  • Commencement of Cowes Cultural and Community Centre construction – $12.2 million
  • Grantville boat ramp, jetty and seawall renewal – $1.1 million
  • Rhyll Boat Ramp and Jetty – $1 million
  • Cowes East foreshore rock revetment wall and beach access – $2.5 million
  • Wonthaggi Activity Centre Plan – $250,000
  • Cuttriss Street Activity Plan – $54,000
  • Marine structure designs for Inverloch East and Kilcunda – $550,000
  • Inverloch Community Hub renewal – $250,000
  • Urban and rural pavement renewal – $3 million

In response to the Climate Change Emergency that was declared in 2019, Council has committed funding in the Proposed Budget for a number of projects that will support its objective of having zero net emissions over the next 10 years.

The Proposed Budget continues to support our agricultural community with a rating differential of 80% plus the opportunity to apply for the Rural Land Management Program, which returns approximately $653,000 to the rural community for land management.

Bass Coast Shire Mayor, Cr Brett Tessari said he is delighted to see the inclusion of significant funding in the Proposed Budget for starting work on the Cowes Cultural and Community Centre project.

“This major project will be complemented by other significant capital projects across the Shire, including the construction of the Guy Road shared path, the rock revetment wall and improved beach access in Cowes, progression of the Wonthaggi Activity Centre Plan and improvements to the Grantville and Rhyll boat ramps and jetties,” Cr Tessari said.

The Proposed Budget also includes funding for a number of strategic initiatives including the Settlement and Housing Strategy, which will position Council to leverage the State Government for funding for affordable housing.

“We are committed to maintaining services, delivering our infrastructure as well as new intergenerational projects that are valued by our community, all within the 1.5% rate cap set by the State Government,” Cr Tessari said.

“I strongly encourage our community to provide us with their feedback, to help us deliver an efficient and financially responsible budget for the next 12 months.”

 

Making a submission

Interested community members are invited to an on-line Facebook Q&A forum to learn more about the Proposed 2021/22 Budget on Wednesday, 5 May at www.facebook.com/basscoastshire, from 6.00pm to 7.30pm.

The Proposed Budget 2021/22 can be downloaded from Council’s website at www.basscoast.vic.gov.au/budget or can be viewed at the Bass Coast Civic Centre 76 McBride Avenue, Wonthaggi. If you would like a copy to be sent to you by mail, please send your request to basscoast@basscoastvic.gov.au or contact Kristen Stewart at 1300 BCOAST (226 278) on (03) 5671 2211.

Submissions are invited to the Proposed Budget 2021/22 and can be made online through Council’s website at www.basscoast.vic.gov.au/budget.

The submission period will close at 5.00pm on Thursday, 20 May and submissions will be considered by Council on Wednesday, 26 May.

If you wish to present your submission to Council, please indicate where prompted in the online submission form. Presenters will be provided a five-minute allocation between 1.00pm to 2.00pm on Wednesday, 26 May. A specific time allocation will be confirmed via phone, following the completion of your submission.

This year, Budget submissions will only be accepted online. If you require assistance with this process, please contact Kristen Stewart on 1300 BCOAST (226 278) or (03) 5671 2211.

The Final Budget 2021/22 will be presented at the Council Meeting on Wednesday, 16 June for adoption. Responses to Budget submissions, including any funding changes will be incorporated into the Council report.