Draft Council Plan, Rating Strategy and Budget discussion

Posted Wednesday 3 May, 01:59pm

Ararat Rural City Council moved three motions at Tuesday night’s Special Council meeting as the Council Plan 2017-2021, Budget 2017/18 and Rating Strategy 2017 move closer to being finalised.

After months of hard work, Council moved that the Draft Council Plan 2017-2021 be made available for public exhibition, with a number of goals and priorities for the next four years identified. Some of these key projects in the next 12 months include Willaura Railway Precinct development, undertake Recreation Reserve Irrigation System works at Gordon Street, Pomonal and Lake Bolac, McDonald Centre essential works and finalisation of the Ararat Freight and Logistics Study.

A total of 156 submissions were received during recent community consultation on two proposed Draft Rating Strategy 2017 options, 25 via postage and 131 from the ‘Have Your Say’ section of Council’s website.

At Tuesday’s Special Council Meeting, Council moved an alternative option that the Draft Rating Strategy 2017 be based around a uniform rate applying to all types of properties. It was resolved that the Draft Rating Strategy 2017 not include differential rate categories or a Municipal Charge.

The adopted Draft Council Plan 2017-2021, Draft Rating Strategy 2017 and Draft Budget 2017/2018 now enter a 28-day formal submission period, closing on June 2, 2017. The Special Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 6 2017 where submissions to the three draft documents will be heard. The three draft documents will then be considered for adoption at the June 27 ordinary Council Meeting.

Ararat Rural City Council Mayor, Cr Paul Hooper said consultation sessions will be advertised next week.

“We are working hard to develop a schedule of community consultation,” he said.

“We have an obligation to get out and consult with the broader community now that a new rating option has been decided on by Council and discuss what it means to individual ratepayers who wish to clarify their position.”

It was also proposed at the Special Council meeting that a rate increase of two per cent be adopted in accordance with the State Government’s Rate Capping legislation as part of the Draft Budget 2017/18, which includes a total Capital Works program of $11.10 million as one of the highlights.

Of the $11.10 million in Capital funding required, $3.99 million will come from Council operations, $4.62 million from external grants, $0.10 million from community contributions, $1.00 million from loan borrowings, $1.17 million transferred from Council reserves and $0.25 million from asset sales.

Highlights of the Capital Works program include:

  • $5.81 million for buildings – Including the Ararat Arts Precinct and the buildings renewal program.
  • $3.69 million for roads – Including road reconstructions, reseals, re-sheeting, bridge improvements, culvert replacement and footpaths (including new kerb ramps for disabled access)
  • $0.20 million for drains – Including road drainage replacement works.
  • $1.40 million for plant and equipment – Including major items of plant and vehicles.

To make a submission to Council regarding the Draft Rating Strategy 2017, Draft Budget 2017/18 or Council Plan 2017-2021, click here to go to the Have Your Say section of the website.

Information regarding the community consultation meetings will be published on www.ararat.vic.gov.au and in all local media avenues in the coming days.