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Community feedback wanted on draft of Baw Baw Shire Council 2022/23 Annual Budget
Baw Baw Shire Council is inviting community submissions in response to the recently published draft Annual Budget 2022/23, Long Term Infrastructure Plan, Council Plan Annual Review, Revenue and Rating Plan, and Long Term Financial Plan.
Together, the 5 key documents detail the council's strategic direction and financial allocations for the upcoming budget year. The drafts have been placed on exhibition for community review following last night's council meeting. To ensure each document aligns with the community's expectations and long-term aspirations for the Shire, council is inviting community groups, clubs and organisations to provide their feedback and make submissions in response to any of the documents from Thursday 14 April to Sunday 8 May 2022.
Baw Baw Shire Council CEO Mark Dupe and Mayor of Baw Baw Shire Michael Leaney at Wednesday night's council meeting
Draft annual budget 2022/23
The 2022/23 Annual Budget represents an income of $116.692 million and an expenditure of $91.934 million. The balance, when adjusted to exclude non-recurrent infrastructure grants and capital contributions from other sources, arrives at an adjusted deficit of $2.276 million.
This deficit reflects a financial position consistent with the current rate-capping environment of 1.75 percent and the challenges of working amidst rising costs and a rapidly growing population which is putting increasing demand on council services and increased pressure and wear on infrastructure.
Capital works projects
Despite the challenges, the draft Annual Budget 2022/23 delivers positive material outcomes for the benefit of everyone who lives, works, studies and invests in Baw Baw Shire. Continued major investment in capital works projects throughout the Shire is a key theme. Totalling $41.367 million - an increase of $2.690 million on the previous year - the capital works program's significant projects include:
- Baw Baw Culture and Connection Precinct Stage 1 - $6.500 million
- Warragul Indoor Stadium Stage 1 - $4.050 million
- Rokeby Noojee Trail - $1.500 million
- Bellbird Park East Multi Use Pavilion - $2.170 million
- Roads reconstruction program - $2.000 million
The draft Budget also funds a series of new initiatives to a net cost $1.2 million to address the pressing needs and service delivery expectations of the community, including investment in Statutory Planning and Enforcement, Strategic Planning, Infrastructure Planning and Maintenance, Waste and works that relate to Vegetation Protection.
How to make a submission
There are various ways in which the community can make a submission to council in response to the 2022/23 draft Annual Budget, LTIP, Council Plan Annual Review, Revenue and Rating Plan, and Long Term Financial Plan:
Council will receive budget submissions from the community until Sunday 8 May 2022. Submissions in response to the Draft Budget and LTIP can be made by email or by post to:
- Chief Executive Officer
- Baw Baw Shire Council
- PO Box 304, Warragul, VIC 3820
Please visit Submissions invited on Draft Budget and Key Documents for further information. Please note: If you wish to make a submission relating to more than one submission category, a separate submission should be made for each category. Each submission will be acknowledged either by electronic response, email or letter to ensure all feedback has been received. Following the public exhibition period, council will consider public submissions at a special council meeting on Thursday 19 May 2022.
Reflecting community's vision
Mayor Cr Michael Leaney said, "Baw Baw Shire Council is one of the fastest growing regions in the state. People often believe that huge population growth means a huge financial boost for councils. That is just not so. As the population increases, so does demand for council services, and so does the demand, pressure and wear on infrastructure that council is required to deliver."
"In preparing the draft budget, we have struck a fine balancing act amidst uniquely challenging conditions. It provides a sensible and stable platform from which we can build and deliver on behalf of our community."
"Now, we're putting our draft budget and key documents out to our community for them to review. Between Thursday 14 April to Sunday 8 May everyone is invited to make a submission on anything they think should be included or changed. With their feedback we can work to ensure our budget reflects the community's vision for a sustainable, healthy and thriving Baw Baw Shire." Cr Leaney said.
Meeting ratepayers' demands
Central Ward Cr Danny Goss said, "I am very proud as a councillor to present this budget to our ratepayers. It is the culmination of a lot of hard work from late last year right up until now. Great work and appreciation to our CEO Mark Dupe, our Director of Strategy and Organisational Performance Caz McLean and certainly to our CFO Jane Watson for the long hours that they put in, the great effort and the commentary around the budget. We're very pleased to receive it."
"This is a collective budget. We own it all together. I think it's very responsible, I think it's forward thinking, and it meets ratepayer demand. I look forward to hearing what our community thinks about this budget through the submissions we'll receive down the track." Cr Goss said.
Sustainable use of resources
Central Ward Cr Joe Gauci said, "The Long Term Infrastructure Plan I think is an amazing piece of work. I think that our officers, who are obligated to make a 10 year plan, are spot on in the way that they do things."
"The overall objective of the draft LTIP is to provide the right infrastructure at the right time in the right places in a way that represents the best value for money and sustainable use of resources. I think that if that's the goal our officers are working under, then we are working directly in the right direction." Cr Gauci said.
Pictures from Baw Baw Shire Council website.
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