Media Releases 2012

Proposed 2012-13 Budget released for community comment

04 April 2012

Yarra Council is inviting the community to comment on its 2012-13 proposed Budget which is on public exhibition until Monday 7 May 2012.

Mayor Cr Geoff Barbour described the budget as “steady and responsible” and said it responded to the evolving needs of the Yarra community while at the same time recognised the challenges of the current economic climate.

The proposed $151 million total expenditure budget includes a $31.6 million fully funded capital works program, $1.7 million for community grants (with applications expected to open in June 2012), and a range of new and exciting initiatives for Council. It will also position Council to remain debt free for the first full year since Council amalgamations in 1994.

“I am very pleased to say that through this budget Council is continuing to take the lead in environmental sustainability and in maintaining and improving our vital assets such as local roads, bike lanes, footpaths, parks, gardens, open spaces and community buildings,” Cr Barbour said.

“There is also a continued focus on addressing disadvantage through affordability of services and special relief programs such as keeping average concessional fees below CPI and increasing the pensioner rate rebate from $130 to $136, one of the highest in the State.”

To achieve the budget, the total rate revenue in 2012-13 will increase by 5.9 percent on the previous year.

In a non-revaluation year, the proposed increase in total rate revenue would work out at about $60 extra per year for an average ratepayer with a property valued at $630,000.

However, this is a revaluation year which means that the total rate income which Council budgets for will be redistributed amongst ratepayers based on the new valuation for each property.

The new valuations, based on market evidence from around January 2012, will appear on people’s rate notices in August.

Many ratepayers will receive a rate increase above the average while many people will receive a below-average increase. Some people may receive a decrease in their rates.

 New initiatives

 The proposed budget includes a range of new initiatives including:

  • Development of a new Yarra Environment Strategy for 2013-2017 ($30,000) which will include for the first time the emerging issues of Climate Adaptation and Peak Oil;
  • Employment of a Construction Management Plan assessor ($75,000) to ensure developers comply with the conditions of their Construction Management Plans, and to protect the amenity of neighbouring residents;
  • Implementation of the Year 1 recommendations of the Curtain Square Site Management Plan ($109,000) to help revive the health of the park’s historic trees;
    • Occasional Care program funding ($55,000) to maintain services levels in 2012-13, while completing a comprehensive review of current service levels and presenting strategic options for Council consideration; and
    • A Heritage Gaps Review ($50,000) which will continue the identification of places of heritage significance and review management of Yarra’s heritage places.


Capital works

The budget also provides a total Capital Works program in excess of $31.6 million, of which $2.6 million relates to projects carried over from the 2011-12 year.  Highlights of the proposed program include:

  • Major projects – the Victoria Street Gateway project, completion of the design and other pre-construction elements of the North Fitzroy Community Hub project, the design of the Lourdes Family and Children’s Hub, and commencing the upgrade of the landmark Collingwood Town Hall to improve safety and accessibility of the building for the community and staff.
    • Bicycle network ($930,000) – continued investment in this sustainable form of transport, including on-street bike lanes and traffic treatments, off-street bike paths and other works as part of the open space and roads programs;
    • Roads ($8.6 million) – including reconstructions, Roads to Recovery projects, re-sheeting and footpaths; and
    • Open space ($4.6 million) – including playground equipment, irrigation systems, street trees and open space reserve improvements.

Cr Barbour emphasised that Council remains committed to building a proposed indoor sports centre and this is reflected in our Long Term Financial Plan, which will see $9 million allocated into a reserve fund by 2014-15.

 

External factors impacting the budget

“In drafting the proposed budget, Council had to consider a range of external costs, beyond normal inflationary pressures,” Cr Barbour said. These factors include:

  • Significant increases (438% in the last 3 years) in the levy payable to the State Government upon disposal of waste into landfill;
  • Enterprise bargaining agreement wage increases for staff (4%);
  • An additional lump sum payment to the local authorities defined benefit superannuation fund (expected to be around $2.5 to $3 million); and
  • The new national carbon price (around $750,000) being introduced on 1 July 2012.

“In terms of the national carbon price I want to say that, as one of Australia’s leading councils for sustainability, we see the price on carbon as supporting our local environment, waste management and Carbon Neutral Action Plan policies.

“The challenge for Council and the community is to work together to reduce our energy use and the waste we send to landfill and in doing so reduce our carbon dioxide emissions. 

“Not only will this help our environment, but it will progressively reduce our carbon price in years to come.  Also important, the Australian government has announced that all low and middle income earners will be fully compensated for the carbon price through tax cuts and pension increases.”

The Mayor thanked his fellow Councillors for their contribution to the budget process over the last five months and Council officers for preparing the Proposed Budget for consideration. 

“I now commend the proposed budget to the community for comment.”

 

Key dates for providing commenting

Council’s 2012-13 proposed budget is on public exhibition from Friday 6 April to Monday 7 May 2012.

Public information sessions on the proposed budget will be held at:

  • 1pm, Tuesday 24 April at Richmond Town Hall
  • 6pm, Thursday 26 April at Fitzroy Town Hall Council Chambers

Submissions will be heard by Councillors at the Council meeting on 22 May 2012 ahead of the budget being adopted at a June Council meeting.

How to obtain a copy of the proposed budget

Copies of the proposed budget are available for inspection at the Richmond Town Hall (333 Bridge Road, Richmond) and the Collingwood Town Hall (140 Hoddle Street, Abbotsford) between the hours of 8.30am and 5.00pm, Monday to Friday. Copies of the proposed budget are also available for inspection during normal operating hours at Council’s five libraries:

  • Collingwood Library (11 Stanton Street, Abbotsford)
  • Richmond Library (415 Church Street, Richmond)
  • Fitzroy Library (128 Moor Street, Fitzroy)
  • North Fitzroy Library (240 St Georges Road, North Fitzroy)
  • Carlton Library (667 Rathdowne Street, North Carlton).

The proposed budget can be viewed on Council’s website at www.yarracity.vic.gov.au/Your-Council/Consultation

Any person may make a written submission on any proposal contained in the proposed budget pursuant to section 223 of the Local Government Act 1989. Written submissions must be received by 5pm on Monday 7 May 2012 and can be sent to Althea Wright, EA to Director Corporate & Financial Services, at Althea.Wright@yarracity.vic.gov.au or c/o P O Box 168, Richmond. Submissions can also be dropped off at the Richmond Town Hall.

For further information about the proposed budget, contact Philip Mason, Manager – Finance on 9205 5449 or at Philip.Mason@yarracity.vic.gov.au


Further information
Toby Walker
Senior Communications Officer
9205 5120
0408 954 769
Toby.Walker@yarracity.vic.gov.au

 



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