Replacement, renewal focus

By Seymour Telegraph

Strathbogie Shire Council had a strong focus on renewal and replacement of ageing infrastructure when it endorsed the 2018-19 budget and revised council plan at a special meeting last week.

It will see a capital works budget of $15million, as well as the following projects:

●Avenel pre-school upgrade — $526000 ($376000 external funds);

●Nagambie Recreation Reserve upgrade — $250000 ($150000 external funds);

●new toilet block on High St Nagambie — $400000;

●deep water boat ramp, Loddings Lane — $395000 ($295000 external funds);

●roads (resealing, road shoulders, re-sheeting, rehabilitation and zero class road upgrade program) — $6.05million;

●maintenance and construction of urban paths, walking tracks and pedestrian bridges — $427000;

●maintenance and replacement of bridges and major culverts — $2.12million; and

●drainage maintenance and improvements — $1.75million.

The 2018-19 budget provides for a capped average rate increase of 1.9 per cent, which is under the Victorian Government’s cap of 2.25 percent, while it has also reduced the farm rate differential from 85 to 82.5 percent of the residential rate.

Mayor Amanda McClaren said council’s decision to increase rates by 1.9 per cent resulted in a reduction of the rate in the dollar charged to properties compared to last year.

‘‘This reduction is the result of growth and development across the shire in the last 12 months, which has seen an increase in the number of rateable properties and their total value across the shire,’’ Cr McClaren said.

The 2018-19 financial year also brings with it a revaluation period, which could mean individual property rates would vary from the 1.9 per cent average, depending on valuation changes.

Cr McClaren said council had worked to strike a balance between ratepayer affordability and the need to source adequate funds to maintain a large geographical area and significant infrastructure with such a small ratepayer base.

She said one of the most exciting parts about the new budget was the amount of external funding council had been able to source for significant projects.

‘‘We have worked so hard to advocate for greater funding in our region and we are really starting to see exciting results,’’ Cr McClaren said.

‘‘We have a significant capital works budget, with over $2million worth of external funding coming into the shire to bring new infrastructure which will drive our local economy, promote investment and make our shire an even better place to live, work and play.’’

Cr McClaren said $84000 has been added in waste costs since the draft budget was released as a result of necessary contract negotiations due to global pressures placed on recycling processors.

‘‘These costs will be absorbed by council’s surplus funds, so we want to reassure ratepayers this will not impact their hip pocket this financial year,’’ she said.

‘‘Ongoing negotiations will be happening with our recycling contractors and whilst we are currently in a comfortable position, we cannot predict the level of costs associated with recycling and waste in the years ahead.’’

Council thanked community members involved in the budget submission process for their input and for the range of great ideas generated.

The following projects were supported through the submission process:

●upgrade road and widen culverts at Strathbogie Recreation Reserve — $10000;

●new shade sails for Nagambie Senior Citizens — $8500;

●scoping for pavilion upgrade at Strathbogie Recreation Reserve — $10000;

●scoping for Avenel Primary School parking solution — $10000;

●Longwood Community Centre bore contribution — $15000;

●Nagambie streetscape items — $15000;

●trial of new treatment for Siems Rd — $35000; and

●contribution to new bowling green for Nagambie Bowls Club — $15000.

The 2018-19 budget and revised council plan is available on council’s website or by visiting customer service centres at 109A Binney St or 317 High St, Nagambie.