Consultation opens for draft 2024/25 Budget and Council Plan Year 4 update

City of Port Phillip
Community consultation opened today for Port Phillip Council’s draft Budget 2024/25 and Year 4 Council Plan 2021-31 update.

Mayor Heather Cunsolo said the draft Budget – the last for this Council’s four-year term – reflects the many economic challenges being experienced by the City and its diverse community.

“The dilemma for our Council is that the costs of providing services and looking after infrastructure to the standards required by our community are growing much more than inflation and the Victorian Government’s rates cap,” Cr Cunsolo said.

The draft Budget continues to provide targeted relief for those who need it most as inflation and cost of living pressures, including interest rates, are causing many community members to do it tough.

As it’s best practice to ensure our Ratings Strategy remains relevant for our community, we will also be consulting on higher differential rates for derelict and vacant land and unactivated retail land to incentivise landowners and discourage neglect linked to safety and amenity concerns, she said.

Last year, Council was able to pass on a reduced average rate rise after receiving unexpected increases in parking payments and interest. However, this year challenges include more government cost-shifting and construction and service delivery costs running above projected inflation.

The proposed average rate increase of 2.75 per cent for 2024/25 is still significantly below the 3.4 per cent forecast inflation rate over this timeframe.

Cr Cunsolo said delaying key capital works or much needed public space land acquisitions for Port Phillip’s growing community would ultimately result in higher costs.

“We are also increasingly having to take on costs passed on by governments.”

Despite this, careful financial management, including extra efficiency savings, has provided a strong foundation to deliver a comprehensive, balanced budget.

“We believe this proposed Budget allows us to keep delivering what makes our City so special, from key infrastructure projects and local economy boosting events and activations to the many services our residents deserve and expect,” Cr Cunsolo said.

“This draft Budget is aimed at providing positive outcomes for residents now, and in years to come, and we are eager to hear what our community thinks.”

Key elements in our draft 2024/25 Budget:

• despite continuing high inflation, the proposed average rate increase of 2.75 per cent is within the Victorian Government’s rates cap and below inflation. As the 2023/24 Budget’s 2.8 per cent average rate rise was lower than the rates cap, this Budget’s proposed rise will be calculated off this lower figure

• a 2.72 per cent rise in the default waste charge to $203.60, which follows rising waste costs being experienced by all councils

• efficiency savings of $1.5 million, providing for a total of $6.4 million in permanent savings to be delivered over this Council’s four-year term.

• project investment of $133 million to maintain, grow and improve services and assets (including over $44.9 million for land acquisition to provide more public open space)

• Council-funded pensioner rates rebate increasing 4.8 per cent to $220

• continuing business support offered under the Economic Recovery Package until June 2025

• an extra $40,000 for food relief

• most fees and charges increasing 3.65 per cent, 0.25 per cent above forecast inflation. Some will be higher and some lower to reflect reasonable user pays charges.

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