Maroondah City Council has released its proposed Budget for the 2010-2011 financial year. It underpins the released 2010-2014 proposed Council Plan, which is the blueprint Council follows to achieve the community’s vision as set out in Maroondah 2025 – A Community Planning Together.
Mayor of Maroondah, Councillor Alex Makin said both documents would go on public exhibition to provide the community with the opportunity to offer any feedback or forward written submissions.
“The proposed Budget outlines the provision of financial resources for the next 12 months, and details how these resources will be applied to delivering the many services Council provides to the community,” said Cr Makin.
“In determining the level of rate income, Council carefully considers all sources of non-rate income, such as government grants and fees and charges; what capital works and services are required throughout the year; and the long-term vision, aspirations and needs of the community,” said Cr Makin.
As in previous years, Council ensures financial sustainability in accordance with its rolling 10 year long term financial strategy. Council has always kept its rate income at the lower end of local government when compared with other like Victorian Councils, however the result of this approach has meant that Council operations would not come into surplus until the 2015/16 financial year.
“The 2010/11 budget provides that this operational surplus will now be brought forward to the 2012/13 financial year (three years earlier) and will require an associated comprehensive review of operations to ensure Council maintains its high community satisfaction scores as well as streamlining efficiencies,” said Cr Makin.
The Budget is based on a proposed general rate and charges increase of 9.8 per cent. This increase balances a range of community enhancements (2.5%), annual Infrastructure Levy (2.5%) with CPI increases of 3 percent. It also takes into account funding for the new landmark Regional Aquatic and Leisure Centre (1.1%) to be built at the current Ringwood Aquatic Centre site, as well as funding the State Government imposed Landfill Levy increase (0.7%).
For the average ratepayer living in a median priced house in Maroondah this represents a $98.10 increase in annual rates and charges, or $1.88 extra per week.
“The community enhancements identified in this year’s Budget include an additional $126,000 in funding for libraries, $150,000 for fire hazard reduction in our bush reserves, an additional $250,000 to ensure powerline clearance of trees throughout Maroondah and $445,000 to fund ongoing maintenance for new capital works completed in recent years,” said Cr Makin.
“We are also putting $50,000 towards developing a Heathmont Structure Plan which will identify and plan for residential and community needs around this transport hub and local shopping precinct,” said Cr Makin.
“Council is also managing the impact of a 233 (two hundred and thirty three) per cent increase in the State Government Landfill Levy, an increase of $400,000 for 2010/11, resulting in a total cost of $570,000 per annum,” said Cr Makin.
“Council’s established policy is to fully recover all waste and recycling costs through the application of a Garbage Charge, which this year will see an increase to offset the increased costs of the State Government Landfill Levy,” said Cr Makin.
The new garbage charges will be $204 – based on a 120 litre bin (an $11 increase on last year) and $172 – based on an 80 litre bin (a $9 increase on last year).
Council introduced a Municipal Charge in 2004-2005 which is equal to the amount of the contribution it is required to pay to the Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board (MFESB). This is designed to add transparency to the rating structure and to emphasise the impact of costs to Council over which it has no control.
For 2010-11 the total MFESB cost to Council has stabilised at $905,880. Given the increased number of property assessments since last year, the amount proposed per property will reduce slightly from $20.15 last year to $19.90 for this coming financial year.
“Council has prepared a very responsible Budget which maintains our services to our community, and also takes into account a number of major external costs and reductions in funding from both the State and Federal Governments,” said Cr Makin.
“It also ensures that we are not only maintaining and upgrading our infrastructure, but that we are taking into account future needs of the community and providing the facilities to meet these. The new Regional Aquatic and Leisure Centre in Ringwood will be a landmark project for the Maroondah community, providing a state of the art aquatic and leisure facility that will meet the growing demand into the future,” said Cr Makin.
“As always, our ongoing challenge is to balance the needs of our community, maintain the quality and level of our services and manage the ever increasing costs that Council must incorporate,” said Cr Makin.
The Maroondah community are invited to view the proposed Budget and Council Plan at Council’s Service Centres, Ringwood and Croydon Libraries and Council’s website at www.maroondah.com.au.
Submissions for the proposed Budget and proposed Council Plan will be received at the Maroondah City Council Offices, Braeside Avenue, Ringwood until 5pm on Friday 14 June 2010.
The community consultation process will continue at a meeting to hear and consider any submissions on both documents at 7pm on Wednesday 23 June 2010 at Maroondah City Council Offices, Braeside Avenue, Ringwood.
At a Special Council Meeting on Monday 28 June, Council will adopt the Budget and Council Plan, which may include any recommendations raised as a result of the submissions.
During the public consultation period (15 May to 14 June 2010) residents and property owners may obtain further information by appointment.
For queries about the Council Budget please contact Council’s Financial Services Unit on 9298 4323 and about the proposed Council Plan contact Council’s Planning and Performance Advisor on 9294 5588. Alternatively, please visit www.maroondah.vic.gov.au/ProposedBudget2010.aspx