Ararat Rural City Council is kicking off a series of face-to-face consultations next week as it seeks community feedback on its bold new plans for Ararat.
A 1.5% rate cut, record investment in road upgrades and reductions in fees for community use of Council facilities were some of the highlights of new plans to strengthen support for residents and businesses.
CEO Dr Tim Harrison said the Draft Budget, Community Vision, Council Plan, and the Revenue and Rating Plan were forging a new pathway that would keep Council accountable to the community it represents.
“The community will notice that we’ve taken an entirely new approach to the way we communicate with our ratepayers,” Dr Harrison said.
“We’ve tried really hard to develop key targets for financial performance and delivery that hold us accountable to our ratepayers.
“The Community Vision is condensed to one page and is focused on growing our population and creating a strong and robust economy. The three-page Council Plan shows how we will get there and clear measurements for success.
“The Budget and Revenue and Rating Plan have also been completely re-shaped, mapping out in direct language the organisational responsibilities of Council and how your rates are being spent. There are new targets for organisational efficiency, cutting waste and returning those dividends to our ratepayers.
“Our 1.5% cut to council rates makes Ararat Rural City the only local government in Victoria that has delivered a net zero per cent increase in rates over the past four years.
“Under our Rating and Revenue Plan, we’re continuing to ensure the fair sharing of the rates burden across our ratepayers.
“We’ve achieved this while delivering new record levels of investment toward roads and community infrastructure and at the same time maintaining an operating surplus.
“This has been hard work, but it’s also just doing our job.
“We’re excited about these plans and the organisational transformation we’ve achieved so far.
“Now we need your feedback and ideas about how we can continue driving improvement to give the Ararat community the council services it deserves.”
Copies of the Draft 2021/2022 Council Budget, Rating and Revenue Plan, Community Vision 2031 and Council Plan 2021-2025 are available via www.engage.ararat.vic.gov.au
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