Delivering a sustainable Budget and progressing Council Plan actions

Council endorsed the Budget 2024-25 and Council Plan 2021-2031 (Year Four Actions 2024-25) at its May 2024 Council Meeting, with this earlier adoption ensuring officers are well-placed to deliver key initiatives from 1 July.

The final documents were informed by months of internal consideration and community feedback, with Council inviting submissions over a four-week period in late 2023 and more than 100 submissions received (some in support of other submissions).

Through this consultation, a number of important community-driven ideas were able to be allocated funding in 2024-25, such as resurfacing works for the Romsey netball and tennis courts; LED lighting upgrades for the South Gisborne Tennis Club; and essential design works for several other projects.

These valuable initiatives are complemented by a well-balanced Capital Works Program for 2024-25, which includes upgrades to key roads in Baynton, Kyneton, Spring Hill and Woodend; and bridge upgrades in Lancefield, Macedon (Clarke Street footbridge) and Romsey.

Several key projects started in 2023-24 have also had a further allocation of funding to either close out or continue the projects in 2024-25 including Stage 2 of the Macedon Ranges Regional Sports Precinct, the Macedon Ranges Shared Trail Project and the Kyneton Showgrounds netball development.

In relation to Council Plan actions and key policies or plans set to progress or finalise in 2024-25, these include the Kyneton Town Centre Urban Design Framework, the Climate Emergency Response Plan, Council’s Open Space Strategy and several recreational master plans, such as the Macedon Ranges Community Equestrian Facilities Master Plan.

Mayor Annette Death said: “I’d like to thank all those in the community who took the time to provide valuable budget submissions, and to Council officers for their consideration and work in finalising these key documents, in partnership with Councillors.”

“We are living through challenging economic times and not everything we would like to fund is possible within one financial year, but with our available funds – including external government grants – we believe we’ve been able to land on a sustainable budget that supports our community.”

As part of Council’s annual fees and charges review, Council is moving towards a full cost recovery model at the three resource recovery facilities, meaning that services previously provided free of charge – such as dropping off residential green waste and comingled recycling – will now incur a fee.

This follows a directive from the Victorian Government’s Ministerial Good Practice Guide on Service Rates and Charges for Kerbside Collection, with councils being asked to move away from including certain fees in the waste charge of rates notices that are for services not specific to a household.

Consistent with a number of other local councils, the green waste disposal charge is set by cubic metre, with a standard 6x4x1 trailer-load of green waste to cost $13.80. A full list of fees and charges is attached to the Budget 2024-25.

“The changes to the way Council factors in certain shared waste charges with rates means that we have to adapt and change some of our business-as-usual, to help our Resource Recovery Facilities to pay for themselves,” Mayor Death said.

“We want to continue supporting our residents by offering important initiatives such as green waste disposal, but this comes at a cost to Council and it is not sustainable for us to continue offering this for free. We know this is a low-cost measure and ensures we don’t operate at a loss.”

“The good news for our ratepayers is that due to the introduction of these fees at our facilities, the mandatory waste charges within rates notices will not increase as a result.”

Council received and disposed of about 50,000 cubic metres in the last financial year, with this number steadily increasing by about 5,000 cubic metres year on year.

The Budget 2024-25 and Council Plan 2021-2031 (Year Four Actions 2024-25) will soon be available online.

/Public Release. View in full here.