Rates to rise in 2024-25 council budget

April 19, 2024 BY

Surf Coast Shire Council is preparing to consider its draft 2024-25 Budget. Photo: SUPPLIED

THE Surf Coast Shire council is set to discuss its draft 2024-25 budget, which proposes a rate increase to the maximum limit set by the Victorian government of 2.75 per cent.

This rate adjustment is part of the council’s plan for a $52.4 million capital expenditure program.

The discussion is scheduled for the council meeting on April 23.

The budget includes $11 million for new projects, such as a Great Ocean Road bike route from Duffields Road to Strathmore Drive in Jan Juc.

Additionally, $41.4 million is allocated for ongoing capital works, including the Winchelsea Pool and the Surf Coast Aquatic and Health Centre.

More than $13 million will be spent on enhancing local roads and footpaths to improve safety and accessibility within communities.

This includes a $2.2 million project to widen Coombes Road from Ghazepoore Road to Messmate Road and upgrades to various footpaths at Moggs Creek’s Boolooral Reserve, Anglesea’s Paringa Nature Reserve, and Willis Street in Winchelsea.

The budget also details a $19.6 million investment in renewing community assets, such as playgrounds at Moriac’s Newling Reserve, Jan Juc’s Bob Pettitt Reserve, Torquay’s Ocean Acres, and the Torquay Skate Park.

Additionally, $862,000 is earmarked for local climate emergency initiatives, including the continuation of the solar and energy transition program and the inaugural year of the Growing Our Urban Forest program.

Mayor Liz Pattison said the draft budget addresses immediate needs while planning for a sustainable future.

“Council provides more than 100 services to the local community, and maintains over $1 billion worth of community assets to support both the growing local population and the 2.5 million people who visit the area annually,” mayor Pattison said.

“The budget is a vital annual document that helps guide what we do and why we do it.

“I look forward to considering the draft budget with my fellow councillors at our April council meeting.”

The waste service charge will also increase, raising rural charges from $427 to $461, an approximately 8 per cent increase, aligning rural charges more closely with urban garbage charges of $495.

The draft budget anticipates an $8.8 million net surplus for 2024-25, a significant increase from the previous year, partly due to the transition of public land management to the Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority and increased government grants.

It also highlights areas where the council will need to carefully manage resources.

These include addressing the rising costs that outstrip the rate cap, ensuring the sustainability of long-term capital projects, and monitoring the adequacy of asset renewal funding to prevent future infrastructure challenges.

Following the council’s review, the community will be invited to provide feedback on the draft budget.

For the full council meeting agenda and to watch the live stream, visit surfcoast.vic.gov.au/meetings.

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