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Published Thursday 25 June 2020

Budget lays foundation for future growth

Mitchell Shire Council is committed to responsibly planning for future opportunities and challenges to increasing population projections and leading community recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Council adopted its Budget 2020/21 and Strategic Resource Plan (DSRP) 2021-2024 – the last for the four-year cycle of this Council.

Despite the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mitchell Shire is still expected to continue to grow solidly into the future. As such, the $97.32 million Budget is focused on sustaining the community and creating a strong sense of place for families.

Council will monitor the changing economic ramifications of a stalled economy on a quarterly basis and has the ability to adapt, depending on the needs of the COVID-19 recovery.

As part of the budget process, Council reviews the fees and charge schedule in line with industry and local government benchmarking. Costs which have risen are a direct reflection on the costs to Council to run each service.

On average, fees and charges have increased across Council’s services by 2.5 per cent. Council made this decision in order to cover the costs to the community.

The roadside kerbside collection for waste fee will be increased by about $35 per ratepayer in the 2020/21 budget in order to cover the increased cost of operation for this service – in line with State Government changes to waste management.

Some good news for recycling with fees maintained for our Resource Recycle Centre and disposal of E-Waste (TVs, computers, household batteries etc) for residents.

Council will waive interest charges on all rates notices until 30 September. A number of fees and charges will be waived for 2020/2021 including:

  • extension of planning permit fee (business only)
  • local laws fees for businesses including A-frames, outdoor dining, displaying goods and roadside trading
  • environmental health for food businesses (including mobile), cafes, restaurants, hairdressers, beauty salons and tattooists
  • public land hire fees
  • statutory planning - pre-application planning fees

Costs for community groups to register for a permit in handle food in Mitchell Shire will be significantly reduced. A new fee of $185 will apply to community groups who apply for registration, down from $365 for private enterprises.

Meanwhile, rates have also risen by 2 per cent in line with the State Government’s mandated rate cap.

Properties will now be re-evaluated each year and, due to this process, residents may see some changes to their rates above or below this threshold. This reflects the changing valuation of properties across the municipality.

Council will maintain its rating strategy for another year which may contain discounts for ratepayers in certain parts of the community. This is outlined on rates notices.

This budget aims to balance, maintain and expand services and infrastructure.

Council has also released its Strategic Resource Plan (SRP). This plan is reviewed annually and sets financial and non-financial targets to which Council can strive.

The SRP guides Council’s commitment to long term financial sustainability, delivering key services for current and future communities, accountability and working within the annual rate cap.

Now more than ever, Mitchell Shire needs increased State and Federal Government funding invested into our community.

Council continues to advocate on behalf of our community to attract more grants to support our growth and the impacts on ratepayers.

Comments from David Lowe

“This Council has been able to produce budget surpluses for the last three years of our term – a great building block for our future. As we’ve seen this year, our ability to be financially responsible and plan ahead allowed us to meet the needs for COVID-19 recovery as well as solid population growth,” he said.

“Supporting our expected growth has always been a big focus of Council. We have been able to secure $30 million worth of investment from both State and Federal Governments to improve our infrastructure.

“Through this much needed and vital funding, over the past four years we’ve delivered projects for the community like the Greater Beveridge Community Centre ($6.5 million), Wallan Town Heart Redevelopment ($4.03 million), Wandong’s LB Davern upgrades ($1.32 million), Broadford’s Harley Hammond Reserve upgrades ($2.05 million) and the Seymour Agricultural Pavilion ($944,000).

“We’ve listened to our community and invested more than we ever in our sealed roads program ($11.11 million), unsealed roads program ($2.27 million) and our missing links program ($2.51 million) across our Shire – just to name a few of the projects we’ve worked on.

“We have relentlessly advocated for this kind of fund and we will continue to do so into the future. I know the current group of councillors are proud to be present a financial stable organisation to a new Council who will lead our community into recovery with a budget surplus and an ability to plan for the overall health and wellbeing of our community.

“I would like to thank the State and Commonwealth governments for their assistance in this budget.”

This page was last updated on 25 June 2020.