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Published Wednesday 24 June 2020

Major rejuvenation leads budget highlights

Mitchell Shire Council’s 2020/21 budget is highlighted by $1.93 million for Wallan’s Greenhill Reserve and Wellington Street Precinct, a $2.48 million rejuvenation on Sydney Street, Kilmore, and an allocation of $2.37 million for a permanent Seymour Resource Recovery Centre.

Council will also increase funding to its sealed roads program, continue to improve road and footpath linkages and keep the doors open to Outdoor Pools for free as part of the $97.32 million 2020/21 budget.

A number of capital works and roads projects are planned to ensure Mitchell Shire continues to deliver for the future and keep its local economy ticking in the face of COVID-19.

The community provided feedback in setting the Budget 2020/21 through the Your Budget Mix initiative last year, with more than 200 responses received online and more recently 17 submissions following the Draft Budget process.

It is the last budget for the current Council, with elections in October.

The major projects in the budget will be delivered through rates, which remains an important source of funding, combined with good financial management, strategic borrowings and State and Federal Government contributions.

Comments from Mayor David Lowe

"This is truly a milestone budget for Council. We’re proud of the financially responsible legacy we’ve built,” he said.

“This year’s budget continues to support our community through improved infrastructure and a focus on our solid population growth. We’ve worked on ways that we can adapt in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It hasn’t been easy, and we’ve had to make a number of complex choices across our Shire. We’ve partnered with our community in developing our budgets and it shows what we can achieve when we work together.

“As a Council, we would like to thank the community, State and Federal Governments for partnering with us over the past four years.”

Budget 2020/2021 snapshot

2020 21 Capital Works Illustration 260220
A snapshot of spending across different categories in the 2020-2021 capital works budget (new projects).

Council is proposing a capital works program of $23.63 million, plus $16.41 million in carry forward works, which provides a total program of $40.04 million.

The major projects in the budget are delivered through of rates, which remains an important source of funding, combined with financial management, strategic borrowings and State and Federal Government contributions.

Highlights of the capital works program for 2020/21 funded by Council in partnership with State and Commonwealth grants include:

  • Roads and Bridges (Renewal and Upgrade) – $5.28 million ($1.18 million grant funded)
  • Park, Open Space and Streetscapes - $5.45 million ($4.56 million grant funded)
  • Recreation, Leisure and Community Facilities - $2.92 million ($1.02 million grant funded)
  • Buildings - $1.21 million ($498,000 grand funded)
  • Strategic Land Acquisition - $960,000 ($860,000 funded from borrowings)
  • Waste Management - $2.20 million
  • Information Technology - $921,000
  • Footpath and Cycleways - $710,000
  • Library Book Renewals - $180,000

The sealed roads program will increase to $4.5 million, up from $3.84 million in the Budget 2019/20, to continue works across the entire municipality.

The capital works program assists Council maintain or upgrade roads, buildings, footpaths, cycleways and missing footpath links across the shire.

Free entry to outdoor pools will continue over the next summer season. The 2019-2020 season saw bumper crowds at outdoor pools – despite some cooler days.

Advocacy

  • Planning for integrated community infrastructure for current and future communities
  • Funding to develop a Social and Affordable Housing Strategy and a Gambling Impacts Policy

COVID-19 community support

  • an extension on fourth quarter rates payments and ceasing of interest charges for overdue accounts until 30 September
  • 75 Working For Victoria roles will be delivered over the coming months
  • We will waive fees in 2020/21 for:
    • 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
  • We will also support:
    • a tourism activation campaign up to $50,000
  • the Great Victorian Rail Trail Strategic Plan - $20,000 rail trail signage
  • and further investigate the opportunity to support an acquisitive sculpture prize of $5000

Community Participation

  • Growing and enhancing Council's online access
  • Engaging community in decisions that impact on their liveability

Responsible Planning

  • Continue to review and update the budget in the wake of COVID-19
  • Review of Council's Geographical Information System service to manage the capture and use of data
  • Undertake programmed condition audits of Council's infrastructure assets to ensure their appropriate life cycle management and the development of targeted asset renewal programs

Strong Communities

  • Roll out of the School Readiness program which is focused on building the capacity of kindergarten teams in supporting children and families in the areas of wellbeing, communication, access and inclusion
  • Staged roll out of 3-year-old kindergarten program
  • Free entry to the outdoor pools
  • Proactive investigation of properties within the Shire to ensure valid registration of animals
  • Focus on maintaining township beautification
  • Focus on extending longevity and reducing ongoing maintenance of garden beds using new mulching solutions
  • Continue the maternal and child health sleep and settling program
  • Review the Mitchell Open Space Strategy to reflect significant changes to population projections, identified service gaps
  • Develop a park master plan to inform future capital improvement programs
  • Audit of community halls to inform future capital improvement programs
  • Allow Greater Beveridge Community Centre to act as a drop-in youth centre, as well as expanded programs for the broader community
  • Healthy Alternatives for Young People program

Supporting Local Jobs and Quality Investment

  • Develop and implement the Economic Development Strategy
  • Implement the four-year Tourism Plan
  • Implement the Small Business Friendly Charter

Financial and Organisational Management

  • Continue to rollout service planning in line with Council’s Service Planning Policy
  • Implement cloud-based services that both increase mobility of staff and improve business continuity
  • Revise and implement the Information and Communication Technology Strategy
  • Workforce and succession planning
  • Review and testing of emergency management processes including business continuity

Caring for Our Environment

  • Detailed roadside conservation surveys to inform future management in accordance with the Mitchell Shire Rural Roadside Environmental Management Plan
  • Review of the Environment Strategy
  • Develop and implement the year one action plan linked to the Mitchell Shire Council Environmental Policy
  • Tree canopy mapping in accordance with Council's commitment to the Resilient Melbourne Urban Forest Policy
  • Continue to implement the Waste Management Strategy
  • Increase community awareness and education on waste and resource recovery through the implementation of the Southern Goulburn Valley Waste and Resource Recovery Education Strategy

This page was last updated on 24 June 2020.