Warrnambool City Council has released its $98.4m Draft Budget 2021-2022 for community review.
“Council has endeavoured to balance the expectations of the community within the limits of rate capping,” Warrnambool Mayor Cr Vicki Jellie said.
“We now want to hear from Warrnambool residents about how they feel the Budget will serve them over the next year.
“We have made the difficult decision to propose a rate increase of 1.5 per cent.
“This was done because we wanted to maintain Council services and to look after the infrastructure we have.
“We recognise that for some the increase in rates – about $32 for the average household – will be a financial burden.
“So we’ve strengthened our hardship provisions and added a $35 rebate for those who have demonstrated they face financial hardship.
“It is important that people know some of the detail in the Budget.
“Early on this new Council indicated it wanted to form stronger relationships with our Aboriginal community.
“So we will invest in a dedicated Aboriginal liaison officer role.
“We think this has great potential to help bridge gaps between Council and Warrnambool’s Aboriginal community.”
Council is also proposing the introduction of one hour of free parking in short-term spaces in Council owned and managed off-street car parks including Cramond and Dickson, Ozone, Parkers and the Art Gallery car parks.
“We know that the one-hour will cover trips into the CBD for many people and this means there will be no hassle for shoppers.
“It means that in addition to the free parking along Banyan Street, the railway station and Cannon Hill we now have dozens of free parking spaces right in the heart of the city a short stroll from shops.”
Council is also committed to completing key infrastructure projects including the new Warrnambool Learning and Library Hub, the Reid Oval upgrade and the Lake Pertobe upgrade.
Council will also replace the ageing Edwards Bridge to ensure that visitors, residents, heavy vehicles and emergency vehicles have ongoing access to the Warrnambool foreshore.
The Edwards Bridge project recently received $1.5 million in Australian Government funding.
Capital works highlights:
- Road renewals $3.75 million
- Edwards Bridge upgrade $3.00m
- Completion of the Lake Pertobe Master Plan implementation (Stage I) $2.90 million
- Recreational facilities upgrades $1.65m
- New and renewed footpaths $1.50m
- Learning and library hub $1.25m
- Energy saving initiatives (smart buildings project) $1m
- Drainage renewal and upgrade $340,000
- Beach access renewal $180,000
- Livestock exchange $2.56m
Council has also sought to achieve greater equity in the application of commercial rating of properties.
“We are proposing to apply a commercial rate to all short-term accommodation providers, including those who are listed on platforms such as Airbnb,” Cr Jellie said.
“This levels the playing field with traditional short-term accommodation providers already paying a commercial rate.”
Council will also undertake a number of important planning projects including the Allansford Flood Study and the Municipal Strategic Land Use Plan.
“And we have also set money aside to look at the Japan Street stormwater catchment area which has flooded in heavy rainfalls,” Cr Jellie said.
Council has increased support for volunteers after Australian Government funding for volunteer support roles ended this year.
Parking along Botanic Road will also be formalised, the McGennans Car Park toilets will be replaced following extensive community consultation and Council will invest in a redesign of the South-West Victorian Livestock Exchange to ensure it meets all required standards best practice in customer and livestock care.
To have your say on the Draft Budget 2021-2022 along with related documents the Draft Long-Term Financial Plan 2021-2031 and the Rating and Revenue Plan 2021-2022 go to www.yoursaywarrnambool.com.au