Draft budget release

David Braithwaite

WELLINGTON Shire Council has proposed a rate rise of 2.5 per cent for the next financial year.

Council will tonight release its draft 2019-20 budget for public comment.

The increase is in line with the state government’s cap on rate rises.

Council has proposed continuing the 20 per cent reduction on rates paid on farming properties.

With much of the shire in drought, council has allocated $1 million for drought initiatives in the budget.

There is no increase to service charges, with the garbage charge remaining at $222.90, the waste infrastructure charge $55 and EPA levy charge $16.92.

The 2019-20 capital works program will be $36.63 million, with $22.75 coming from council operations, $9.9 million from state and federal governments and other contributors, and $3.97 million from new borrowings.

Council has allocated money for the redevelopment of the Cameron Sporting Complex in Maffra ($6.2 million), Stephenson Park, Sale, pavilion ($1.35 million) and Briagolong Recreation Reserve pavilion ($470,000).

Other projects include the Maffra streetscape renewal ($1.9 million), upgrade of storage, verandah and stage at the Bundalaguah-Myrtlebank Hall ($270,000), and toilet replacement program at the Sale Botanic Garden ($250,000).

Staceys Bridge near Yarram ($494,000), Rathjens Bridge at Flynn ($400,000) and Orrs Bridge at Dargo ($350,000) will be upgraded.

Netball change rooms at the Stratford Recreation Reserve, road safety treatment at Seaspray, active recreation precinct development at Golden Beach, and a roundabout at the intersection of Market and Macarthur Sts, Sale, have also been included in the budget.

Council has allocated $5.3 million to road seals, resheeting and reconstructing unsealed roads; $1.2 million on residential street schemes, and $3.4 million on footpaths, and $1.1 million for open space projects such as streetscapes and parks.

Council anticipates a budget surplus of $9.9 million.

A surplus of $18.8 million has been forecast for this financial year.

Council will consider public submissions during a special meeting on Tuesday, May 28, before adopting the final budget on Tuesday, June 4. Tonight’s meeting will be in the Wellington Centre at the Port of Sale, beginning at 6pm.