Colac Otway Mayor Cr Jason Schram said the Budget had been developed in unprecedented circumstances with a focus on supporting the community to rebuild the local economy when Council was able to move from pandemic relief to recovery.
“The COVID-19 health crisis has created economic hardship around the world and across Colac Otway Shire, and this Budget acknowledges the impact and aims to provide a financial framework for stability and growth,” Cr Schram said.
“The Draft Budget presented to Council was developed at a point when Colac Otway had no COVID19 cases and a plan for recovery was ready to be rolled out. The impact of the second wave, which already involves a significant number of cases and an unknown effect on business, the wider community and the extent of support needed
“It is difficult to put a cost on the pandemic on Council and we know we need to push ahead with major projects to boost tourism, provide opportunities for local businesses and employees, and provide support to traders by reducing Council fees.
“The Budget will include a 1.5 per cent rate rise, the fourth year under the State Rate Cap and below CPI.
“However the Budget also includes a reduction in waste charges, which delivers an overall increase of 1.18 per cent on 2020-21 rates notices.
“The annual weekly kerbside collection charges will drop from $315 to $300 a year and ratepayers who receive fortnightly collection will receive an annual charge of $205 down from $215,” he said.
“The community relies heavily on Council’s 49 services and it costs money to deliver those services and this Budget will allow us to support our local economy and get through this unprecedented health crisis.”
Key features of the Budget include:
- $3.6m Geelong City Deal, in partnership with the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments, which will see the following projects delivered over the coming years:
o Improvements to Tourism Infrastructure in Kennett River - $1.9 million
o Great Ocean Walk between Apollo Bay (Wild Dog Creek) and Skenes Creek - $5 million
o Apollo Bay Harbour - $12 million
- Forrest Mountain Bike Revitalisation
- Colac Civic and Rail Precinct Master Plan
- Apollo Bay Early Years Hub contribution
- Energy Efficient Street Lighting
- $10.2m Capital Works Program
o Sealed road reconstruction program - $3m
o Road slip rehabilitation program - $574k
o Footpath renewal - $303k
o Bridge rehabilitation program - $620k
o Building renewal program - $356k
o Sealed road resealing program - $580k
o Colac Otway Parking & Traffic Strategy Implementation - $171k
o Rail Level Crossing Improvements, Back Larpent Road - $160k
o Commence new footpath in Roadknight Stree