A WHOPPING $101.8m draft budget was adopted by Bass Coast Shire at their Ordinary Meeting yesterday which is now open for community consultation.
The Draft Budget 2022/23 features a capital works program of $28.8 million, which will be funded by capital grants of $5.9 million, borrowings of $5.3 million and the remainder from council cash.
The budget will see the standard waste service reduced by $8.84 (1.8%), with garbage revenue expected to be $14.7 million.
Rate increases have been contained to 1.75%, in line with the mandated state government rate cap.
Total rates and charges are $69.8m, with rate revenue expected to be $54.2m.
According to the draft, council will use an additional $17.1 million in new borrowings to fund the capital works program and refinance $11.7 million in loans already held on June 30, 2022, increasing total borrowings to $30.5 million as of June 30, 2023.
“The Draft Budget projects an operating surplus of $2.2 million for 2022/2023 and a balanced Funding Statement position,” the report states.
“The adjusted underlying deficit of $3.5 million is largely attributable to the significant one-off landfill rehabilitation works totalling $4.1 million that are required to be completed within the 2022/23 financial year.
“Council’s projected adjusted underlying results range from a deficit of $4.7 million in 2022/23 to a surplus of $1.3 million in 2025/26.”
Total employee costs are expected to be $33,227,000 with council employees at 320.
While $73m has been allocated for the operating budget to support council services.
Project highlights of the Draft Budget include:
• $11.2m to deliver new leisure and recreational facilities, including complete construction of new Cowes Cultural and Community Centre ($2.8m) and surrounding public realm improvements ($2.2m), Kilcunda Foreshore Skate Park construction ($0.3m) and equipment upgrades at WUCAC ($0.2m).
• $14.0m to improve Bass Coast’s road and path network, including Shetland Heights and Potters Hill Road unsealed road upgrade ($1.8m), Cowes-Rhyll Road Shared Pathway ($0.5m) and Corinella Connection Pathway ($0.3m).
• $18.6m Waste Services, including waste services ($12.4m), landfill rehabilitation ($4.1m) and micro turbines ($1.6m).
• $5.1m on Climate Change Actions including protecting our natural environment ($2.1m), rock revetment wall and groyne renewal ($1.0m) and Electric Vehicle public charging stations ($0.4m).
• $10.9m to upgrade community facilities including Wonthaggi Activity Centre plan priorities ($3.0m), kindergarten expansion project ($0.4m) and renewal of Rhyll Hall ($0.3m).
While new funding has also been provided for projects including Neighbourhood Character and Housing Strategy – $150,000, San Remo Structure Plan – $150,000 and finalisation of Wonthaggi North East Structure Plan – $250,000.
The Draft Budget also features a rating differential of 80% for agriculture plus the opportunity to apply for the Rural Land Management Program, which returns approximately $665,000 to the rural community for land management.
Cash and investments are expected to be $33.7 million as of June 30, 2022, and are expected to reduce over the term of the Strategic Resource Plan (SRP) to $20.4 million as of June 30, 2026.
Council’s working capital position is expected to reduce over the term of the SRP from a net $26.7 million in 2022/23, to $14.6 million by June 2026.

Engagement dates

Public exhibition and submissions on the Draft Budget are open until May 16.
Community members are invited to an online Facebook Q&A forum on Wednesday, May 4 at www.facebook.com/basscoastshire, from 6.00pm to 7.30pm.
The Draft Budget can be downloaded at www.basscoast.vic.gov.au/budget and copies will be available for inspection at the Bass Coast Civic Centre 76 McBride Avenue, Wonthaggi.
Submissions can be made through www.engage.basscoast.vic.gov.au/22-23budget.
Feedback on the Draft Fees and Charges 2022/23 is also being sought.
Submissions will be considered by council on Wednesday, May 25.
Council will also hear submissions from community organisations on Wednesday, May 25.
The final 2022/23 budget will be presented on Wednesday, June 15 for adoption.