Ararat Rural City Council releases 2019 draft budget for comment

Posted Wednesday 8 May, 01:05pm

More than $14 million on capital works, a decrease in staff wages, and turning an underlying deficit into a surplus are just some of the features of the 2019 ARCC Draft Budget, which was released for comment last night.

Council CEO Dr Tim Harrison said this year’s budget was all about investing in the community.

“We have taken the Council back to basics – we have reduced staff costs and increased road and capital works expenditure, all in an effort to improve the Council’s financial sustainability,” Dr Harrison said.

The draft budget was endorsed and released for public comment at a special meeting of Council last night.

Some of the draft budget highlights include:

  • $14.689 million on capital works including:
    • $350,000 for the Elmhurst Hall redevelopment;
    • $400,000 for female-friendly amenities at the Willaura Recreation Reserve;
    • $750,000 for upgrades to the Buangor-Ben Nevis Road;
    • $909,000 on bridge upgrades;
    • $50,000 on rural halls upgrades.
  • A $534,000 reduction in the salaries budget.
  • A surplus of $3.214 million with an underlying result of a $155,000 deficit, an improvement from the deficit of $3.873 million last year.
  • A doubling of grants to hall committees and recreation reserves to $58,600.
  • $959,763 for arts, culture and heritage.

Dr Harrison said the draft budget outlines a 2.5% rate rise, which is in line with the State Government’s Fair Go Rates System, which caps Victorian local government rate rises to 2.5% each year. This comes after a zero rate rise last year.

“Council is mindful to keep rate rises within the cap but it is important that rates rise by 2.5% each year to ensure inflationary impacts do not erode our capacity to manage recurrent expenditure or deliver infrastructure and services to the community,” he said.

Dr Harrison said the community has until Friday June 7 at 5.15pm to comment on the draft budget, which is available on the Council’s website and from its office at 59 Vincent Street, Ararat.

Another special meeting will be held on Tuesday 11 June to hear public submissions on the draft budget. To make a submission, please put it in writing and indicate in your submission if you wish to speak at the June 11 meeting.

To download a copy of the Draft Budget and find out how to make a submission, CLICK HERE.

Submissions close Tuesday 11 June at 5.15pm.

The budget will be considered for adoption at the regular Council meeting to be held on Tuesday June 25.