Council adopted its 2015/16 budget at its meeting on 23 June 2015.
Investment in community infrastructure forms the centrepiece of the budget, with significant funds allocated to North Fitzroy Community Hub and the Yarra Community Youth Centre. Another highlight is the further expansion and refinement of Yarra’s open space network.
The budget will deliver more than 100 local programs and services that are vital to quality of life for our inner city community.
Budget at a glance
- $159 million total operating expenditure budget.
- $40.5 million capital works program (including carried forward projects $6.4 million).
- $0.93 million in new initiatives and $1.9 million for community grants.
- 4.5% increase in general rates, which is consistent across the municipality for all ratepayers as this year is not a ‘revaluation year’.
- 6.25% increase in the rate rebate for pensioners (from $160 to $170 per annum).
- $8.3 million in new funding to commence construction of the North Fitzroy Community Hub
- $642,000 to redevelop the Yarra Youth Community Centre
- $7.3 million for roads, footpaths, drains, tree root management and retail shopping strips including $400,000 for local area traffic management.
- $2.9 million for Parks and Open Spaces (more than 30 projects across Yarra), including:
- $485,000 for stage one of a ramp and shared pathway linking Coulson Reserve to Merri Creek path (funded through open space contributions provided by developers)
- $275,000 for a new open space agreement with local schools which will improve out-of-school-hour access to open spaces in neighbourhoods currently lacking a local park (funded through open space contributions provided by developers)
- $350,000 to improve customer service and management of Yarra Libraries through stage two implementation of Remote Frequency Identification Data (RFID) and self-checking technology
- $170,000 for a revision of the Yarra Planning Scheme capturing community views on how the scheme can be improved to ensure better outcomes for Yarra
- $80,000 funding contribution to Yarra Energy Foundation’s program to provide LED retrofits and a residential solar program to reduce energy consumption
- $30,000 for Emergency Management heat wave support for vulnerable people
- $25,000 for the Room to Create arts program which aims to keep the arts in Yarra by supporting eligible artists and arts organisations and fostering more affordable and sustainable creative spaces
- $25,000 towards Yarra’s arts and heritage collection.
New initiatives include
- $200,000 to to manage special activity occasions such as New Year’s Eve and Australia Day in public parks and reserves;
- $170,000 to create a draft local planning policy in close consultation with the community for incorporation into the Yarra Planning Scheme; and
- $70,000 for the Communities that Care program, which builds capacity within communities to improve the healthy development of children and young people.
Council listens to community feedback
A number of new items were added to the budget following extensive community consultation, which resulted in 94 submissions to Council. New initiatives include:
- $225,000 for the Fitzroy Adventure Playground (Cubbies), which provides activities for hundreds of children from the Atherton Gardens Housing Estate
- $103,000 for an urban agriculture facilitator position that will help residents establish community gardening projects
- $25,000 to the Collingwood Basketball Association to undertake a feasibility study to build additional basketball courts at Collingwood College (conditional on commitment from the Department of Education and Training and Sport and Recreation Victoria).
- $7,500 to support the Garage Sale Trail event in Yarra.
Factors impacting the budget:
Once again this year, there are a number of mandatory State Government charges. Among these is the Fire Services Property Levy which all Victorian Councils have been directed by the State Government to collect. Although appearing on rates notices, this is not a Council charge for Council services, but a State levy.
Another impact on Council’s budget (which affects all Victorian councils) is the defined benefit superannuation liability (a scheme which pre-dated amalgamation). Council opted to fund this liability and also fund the purchase of 345 Bridge Road, acquisition of the Connie Benn Centre operations and the energy performance contract under the Local Government Funding Vehicle (LGFV) which requires funds to be set aside for repayment over seven years.
Hardcopies of the budget are available for inspection at Richmond Town Hall (333 Bridge Road, Richmond), Collingwood Town Hall (140 Hoddle Street, Abbotsford) and all Yarra Libraries branches.
Council officers were on hand to answer questions and listen to your feedback about the budget at the following information sessions:
- Thursday 30 April, 5.30pm–6.30pm at Richmond Town Hall
- Wednesday 6 May, 12pm–1pm at Fitzroy Town Hall
Council considered written submissions received by 5pm on Wednesday 13 May 2015, as well as verbal submissions in support of those written submissions, at a Special Council Meeting held at 6.30pm on Wednesday 20 May 2015 at Fitzroy Town Hall.
Previous Council Budgets
Download budgets from previous years:
Adopted Budget 2014/15 (3.09 MB)
Revised Budget 2013-14 (139.03 KB)
Adopted Budget 2013/14 (1.17 MB)
Council Budget 2012/2013.docx (1.06 MB)
Council Budget 2011/2012 (2.84MB)
Council Budget 2010/2011 (1.63MB)
Council Budget 2009/2010 (700.22kB)
Council Budget 2008/2009 (2.59MB)
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Manager - Finance