Yarra City Council adopts 2017/18 budget

Wednesday 02 August 2017

Yarra City Council has adopted its 2017/18 budget and Long Term Financial Strategy, following extensive community consultation.

The $173 million operating expenditure budget enables Council to continue funding hundreds of everyday high quality community programs and services. It also allows us to maintain and improve infrastructure and provides funding for some exciting new projects through a $30 million capital works program.

Mayor Amanda Stone said in developing its budget, Council’s primary responsibility was to deliver good quality services and programs to the community in an environmentally and financially sustainable way, with an emphasis on social equity.

“This is becoming increasingly challenging but we are pleased that in this current financial year we are able to deliver projects which are a high priority for the community,” Cr Stone said.

“We have $500,000 to continue the Wellington Street Copenhagen lane from Gipps to Johnston streets (to be funded across two years), and $450,000 for a new pocket park on the corner of Charles and Mollison streets in Abbotsford.

“We will continue to upgrade local roads through a $2 million Local Area Place Making (LAPM) program (including a $1million grant from VicRoads) to be delivered over the next 3 years. This includes $200,000 in funding from VicRoads for improvements in Collingwood, North Fitzroy, Abbotsford and Richmond this financial year.

“Reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill is important from both an environmental and financial perspective, which is why we’re investing $171,000 to trial an innovative solution for food waste recycling,” Cr Stone said.

“Continuing our ongoing commitment to being a leading sustainable city, the budget also includes $60,000 for the bicycle network program, $28,000 for more bicycle parking, $79,000 for a pedestrian safety program and $40,000 to plan for the implementation of Yarra’s first Urban Forest Strategy. There’s also $150,000 for a roads safety program to reduce vehicle speeds and improve safety, walkability and cycling in areas proactively identified as having a potentially higher risk of accidents.

“Another key highlight of the budget is our $2 million community grants program – one of the largest programs of its kind in Victorian local government - reflecting our deep commitment to grassroots community groups and volunteers,” Cr Stone said.

Yarra’s pensioners will continue to receive extra support through Council’s own general rate rebate of $178.80, which increased by 2% from last year and is among the highest of all 79 Victoria Councils. This is on top of the State Government’s annual rate rebate for pensioners.

View the full Council resolution here

No waste service charge

Council has decided not to introduce a separate waste services charge in 2017/18, after initially proposing to do so in a previous version of the budget, following overwhelming community feedback against the proposal.

Instead we will be undertaking a range of efficiency measures outlined below.

Measures to address a challenging financial environment

Council’s budget and long term financial strategy are under pressure due to population increases, capital and asset renewal needs, the State Government Rate Cap, debt management requirements and increasing costs of providing services within the constraints of shrinking grants and financial assistance from State and Federal Government.

To address these challenges, Council will be undertaking a range of measures including: continuing to achieve operating efficiencies through a review of management staffing levels and corporate structures, further shared services and procurement, reducing the use of cost of external consultants including legal services, more effective debtor management strategies, attracting more external grants, reducing Council’s passenger fleet reliance and other measures.

Council will also deliver a comprehensive Property Management Strategy with targets to increase revenue from the more effective use of assets and the prudent management of assets that are surplus to Council’s requirements.

It will also undertake a rigorous mid-term review of this budget reporting back to Council by the first meeting in 2018.

The final Budget 2017/18 and Long Term Financial Strategy documents will be available on Council’s website soon.

Budget at a glance

  • $173m total operating expenditure budget
  • $30m for new capital projects and other new initiatives
  • $2m for community grants and contributions
  • 2% increase in general rates, in line with the State Government’s Fair Go Rates System
  • 2% per cent increase in the rate rebate for pensioners (from $175 to $178.50 per annum).

Capital works highlights

  • $8.4m for road upgrades
  • $6.8m for community building renewals
  • $3.95m for upgrades to parks, playgrounds open space and streetscapes
  • $840,000 for laneway upgrades, including bluestone laneway reconstructions

Other budget highlights

  • $500,000 to extend the separated bike lane in Wellington Street, Collingwood
  • $450,000 for a new park at the corner of Charles and Mollison streets in Abbotsford
  • $240,000 to improve the Victoria Street streetscape in Richmond (to add to a $200,000 State Government grant which Council successfully advocated for)
  • $102,000 for a marker honouring members of the Stolen Generations
  • $150,000 to support the Cubbies Adventure Playground


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