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Council Releases 2019/20 Draft Budget

26 April 2019

Southern Grampians Shire Council has released the 2019/20 draft budget at last night’s special Meeting, with community now invited to have their say.

The $65.312 million draft budget includes a $23.443 million capital works program which sees significant investment into local roads; roofing of the cattle yards at the Hamilton Regional Livestock Exchange (HRLX); implementation of recreation and leisure strategy findings including masterplan initiatives of Lake Hamilton and Pedrina Park; bridges and associated infrastructure; funding for construction of serviced industrial land and stage two of the Hamilton CBD revitalisation including township entries.

Mayor Cr Mary-Ann Brown says the 2019/20 budget aims to deliver a number of key projects in the 2017-2021 Council Plan, building on the work completed over the last financial year.

“Councillors and Council officers have been working together to plan strategically for the future so that we are making significant investment into our critical infrastructure; providing quality recreation and leisure services across the Shire; planning for the future of our cultural facilities; capitalising on our investment into our assets, and advocating for the identified priorities of the region,” Cr Brown said.

The proposed budget includes a number of key initiatives to deliver on the Council Plan:
• Delivery of the capital upgrades (including cattle yards roofing) at HRLX while continuing the implementation of the marketing strategies to grow the business
• Delivery of detailed designs and commencing implementation of Stage two of the Hamilton CBD Revitalisation Project – Lonsdale St/Melville Oval/Gray Street
• Commencing the delivery of priority improvements to recreation and leisure facilities in response to the findings of the Recreation and Leisure Strategy, including Lake Hamilton & Pedrina Park
• Implementing the next round of actions from 2018 energy audits at Council facilities including installation of solar panels on HRLX roofing project, and
• Continuing advocacy on key Council priorities to Regional (Great South Coast & Grampians) State and Federal Governments

The total Capital Works program of just over $23 million sees substantial investment in roads, bridges, footpaths and associated infrastructure.

Highlights of the Capital Works Program include:
• Finalising construction of the serviced industrial land
• Finalising the 2016 Flood Impact repairs and reinstatement works and transition to business as usual
• Delivery of the Cox Street Front Door project
• Delivery of the first phase of the Hamilton Gateways Strategy which will deliver town entrance beautification including signage and trees
• Implementation of works associated with Councils Buildings Asset Management Strategy.

The Draft 2019/20 Operating Budget forecasts the delivery of an operating surplus of $0.761 million and Council anticipates to hold $4.966 million cash at 30 June 2020. It is proposed to borrow $2 million in 2019/20 year.
The municipal charge will increase from $194 to $200 (this is a 2.56 percent increase bringing the total collected to 10 percent of rate revenue). Rates will increase by the mandatory 2.5 percent set by the State Government, after Council again resolved not to seek a variation to the legislated rate cap for 2019/20.

Residential properties in the Hamilton, Balmoral, Branxholme, Byaduk, Byaduk North, Cavendish, Coleraine, Dunkeld, Glenthompson, Penshurst and Tarrington urban areas will notice an increase in their service charges - from $263 to $295. This is to recover the increased costs associated with the disposal of recycling.

Cr Brown said she was confident Council was balanced in its approach with this budget.

“One of the objectives of this year’s budget was to ensure long term financial sustainability for the shire,” she said.

“Under the rate capping environment, Council has continued to identify sustainable cost savings that will assist in delivering priority projects and other strategic outcomes for the community.

“Our focus for the next year is to continue to deliver on the projects and services that make our shire a great place to live in and respond to the challenges we are currently facing,” Cr Brown said.

Cr Brown said the draft budget set the scene for a number of key projects over the coming year for Council.
“Of particular focus is the delivery of improvements to our sporting and recreational facilities, capital upgrades to the Hamilton Regional Livestock Exchange and our town entrances and the continued advocacy to State and Federal Governments for our regional priorities,” Cr Brown said.
“Council is confident the draft budget delivers fairness, responsibility and opportunity in equal measure. We’re keen to know what people think, and invite our community to participate in the budget submission process,” Cr Brown concluded.
Any person proposing to make a submission must do so in writing before 5.00pm on 27 May 2019. Submissions should be addressed to the Chief Executive Officer, Southern Grampians Shire Council, Locked Bag 685, Hamilton 3300 or

Persons making submissions are requested to indicate whether they wish to be heard in support of their submission and whether they will attend in person and/or be represented by some other person.

Adoption of the 2019/20 budget will be considered at a Special Meeting of Council to be held on Wednesday 26 June 2019.

Copies of the budget are available for inspection at Council’s Brown Street and Market Place offices, at licensed Post Offices within the Shire (excluding Hamilton), the Hamilton Visitor Information Centre, Greater Hamilton Library, the mobile Library and on Council’s website.

Any person requiring further information concerning the budget or the making of a written submission is invited to contact Council’s Manager Finance, Belinda Johnson on 5573 0402.

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