Council Endorses Draft 2024-25 Budget For Submissions

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With a strong focus on delivering core services and investing in key facilities, Surf Coast Shire Council’s draft 2024-25 Budget has been endorsed for submissions.

The draft budget features an ambitious $52.4m capital expenditure program, $11m of which is on new projects including a Great Ocean Road bike route from Duffields Road to Strathmore Drive in Jan Juc ($489,410). The remaining $41.4m is ongoing capital works, headlined by two exciting facilities: Winchelsea Pool and Surf Coast Aquatic and Health Centre.

Torquay Skate Park and playgrounds at Moriac’s Newling Reserve, Jan Juc’s Bob Pettitt Reserve and Torquay’s Ocean Acres are just a handful of Council’s community assets and facilities that will be renewed through a total $19.6m.

“From parks to playgrounds to pools, facilities like these are loved by so many and are wonderful places to foster community connections,” Mayor Liz Pattison said.

Mayor Pattison highlighted the budget’s focus on local roads and footpaths.

“More than $13m will help make it easier and safer for people to move in and around their communities,” she said. “As well as important sealed and unsealed road renewal across the shire, Coombes Road will be widened from Ghazepoore Road to Messmate Road ($2.2m) and numerous footpaths will be upgraded, such as Moggs Creek’s Boolooral Reserve, Anglesea’s Paringa Nature Reserve, and Willis Street in Winchelsea.”

There is $862,000 for local initiatives to deliver Council’s climate emergency response.

“As a carbon-neutral organisation, we’ll add to the 316kW of solar and 64kWh of battery storage installed on Council facilities, further reducing emissions and our energy costs,” the Mayor said.

“We’ll also assess resilient relief centres to support the community in emergencies ($35,000) and roll out the inaugural year of the Growing Our Urban Forest program ($190,000), which will adapt townships to help withstand the changing climate through tree planting and canopy cover.”

The draft budget includes a proposed rate increase of 2.75% – complying with the rate cap set by the Victorian Government. Rate revenue is the major source of funding for core services and key facilities in the 2024-25 draft budget, to support the community now and into the future.

The waste service charge funds the likes of kerbside collections, waste disposal, recyclable material processing, local resource recovery centres, and Anglesea Landfill. The charge for rural garbage collection will increase by $34 to $461. It is gradually being aligned to the urban garbage charge ($495 in 2024-25), given delivery costs and services are on par.

“We understand that many residents are experiencing financial pressures. If you are, please reach out to Council as there are rates payment plans available,” Mayor Pattison said.

“Any proposed introduction or increase to fees and charges is to ensure that they are closer to the true cost of providing these facilities, services and programs, and that they are consistent across the shire. This way, the people who benefit from the service are helping fund more of the cost, while those who do not benefit contribute less.”

A net surplus of $8.8m is forecast for 2024-25. This is a forecast increase of $18.2 million compared to 2023-24, driven by the transition of parcels of public land to Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority in 2023-24 and an increase in government grants.

“Inflation has been rising much faster than Council’s revenue base and much higher than the 2.75% Victorian rate cap set for 2024-25,” Mayor Pattison said.

“We acknowledge that we’re facing longer term challenges that require sound financial planning. Population growth is increasing demand for services and infrastructure, and this is challenged by constraints on our ability to grow revenue in a rate-capped environment.

“It’s good to see that $540,000 of savings have been generated to support the challenge of the gap between our revenue and inflation.”

Submissions on the draft budget are welcome until 10am on Monday 20 May.

View the draft 2024-25 budget online via, in-person at Council office (1 Merrijig Drive, Torquay), or call Council on 5261 0600 to arrange a hard copy to be posted.

Make a submission:

Submissions will help inform Council when it considers adoption of the final 2024-25 budget at the Council meeting on Tuesday 25 June 2024.

/Public Release. View in full here.