Wellington Shire Council is set to adopt its budget tonight

Council is unlikely to build a long-campaigned for off-road path from Seaspray to The Honeysuckles, citing high costs. File photo: John Morgan

David Braithwaite

SUBMISSIONS received by Wellington Shire Council are unlikely to see major changes to its 2021-21 budget.
Council will formally adopt the budget during tonight’s meeting.
Council received 11 written submissions for its draft budget, while six verbal submissions were made during a special council meeting on May 27.
If council follows the advice of its officers, the submissions won’t have a major financial effect on the budget.
Following a submission from the Stratford Recreation Reserve committee, council will provide some funding towards the design and cost planning work for the extension of the reserve social rooms.
Council will also allocate funding, contingent on a contribution from the Yarram and District Adult Riding Club, for an equestrian facility at the Yarram Recreation Reserve.
The outdoor arena project is included in the reserve master plan and is the minimum infrastructure required to undertake equestrian and pony club activities.
The Seaspray Reserves Committee of Management made two submissions requesting funding for works across the town.
In response to its request for a pump track, a council officer pointed out its Youth Play Plan did not identify Seaspray as a town for such a facility because of the low number of youth living there, leaving the track poorly-utilised outside holiday periods.
“Council, however, will investigate other options that could be implemented for holiday periods,” the recommendation to council stated.
The extension of the pathway to complete the loop along Centre Rd and eventually along Main Rd has been prioritised for the 2022-23 budget.
The committee asked for a dump point be installed for self-contained campers, to which it was pointed out the town’s caravan park has one.
“The Seaspray Reserves Committee of Management may wish to investigate whether the caravan park operators are prepared to allow other campers to use the dump point for a small fee,” the council officer responded.
Council is unlikely to construct the long campaigned for off-road from Seaspray to The Honeysuckles.
“Council has now undertaken an assessment of planning requirements and costings for the construction of the requested path,” a council officer responded.
“Given the high cost to plan, construct and maintain a path between Seaspray and The Honeysuckles, council does not support this submission and will instead continue to focus on the priorities identified in council’s urban path program.”
In response to a request to construct a footpath along Cedar St, Sale, an officer responded that a shared path was unlikely to happen within the next five years.
Council will, however, investigate drainage concerns in the street.
Following calls for changes to the rating system from members of the farming community, the recommendation was made for council to continue providing a farm rate differential, 20 per cent less than the general rates applied to residential, commercial and industrial properties, “to ensure equity across the competing challenges and requirements of each sector”.
There has also been additional money budgeted for the new litter bin contract, a tourism study in Port Albert and the Yarram growth strategy project, which were not related to public submissions received.
If adopted, the budget will include $48.24 million in capital works, including $44.09 million in new projects.
Revenue from the rates will increase by 1.5 per cent in line with the state government rate cap, plus there will be rises in the garbage charge and EPA levy.
Councillors will meet tonight via Skype from 6pm, and can be viewed live on council’s YouTube page.
Questions and comments to the meeting must be submitted by 1pm today via the comments page at www.wellington.vic.gov.au/council/council-meetings or emailed to askcouncil@wellington.vic.gov.au.