ON Tuesday the City of Ballarat unveiled the Draft Budget 2015/16, which went to the Ordinary Meeting of Ballarat City Council, yesterday. At the unveiling Ballarat Mayor Cr John Philips said this year’s Draft Budget is a careful balance between being responsible with rate-payers money and maintaining, servicing and building Ballarat.
A reduction in management costs of $1 million this year makes more funding available for projects and services.
A 5.5% rate increase for the 2015/16 financial year has been proposed and the commercial rate will rise by 3.5%.
The City is also delivering a 4% increase in core capital investment.
CEO Anthony Schinck said this year’s budget includes a strong focus on maintaining Ballarat.
“We are taking charge of maintaining Ballarat. We need to take care of what we have – our roads, our buildings, our parks and gardens, and our sporting and recreational facilities,” he said.
“We are making key investments to keep our city up-to-date, and well placed for future growth, which means putting extra money into infrastructure.” Maintaining Ballarat projects include: $2.6M to maintain Council buildings; $10M for road maintenance; $210,000 for bridge repairs; $1.02M for city presentation projects including street furniture, city entrances, street irrigation and landscaping, public place recycling and bus shelters; $216,000 for public art and restoring city monuments; $318,000 for neighbourhood playgrounds; $281,000 for
neighbourhood parks. This year’s budget is also about delivering fundamental services and
Council has locked in the necessary expenses to run its 100-plus services through the 2015/16 budget. A selection of projects include: $13.63M for road construction and renewal, including $2M for rural roads; $1.54M for drainage projects; $1.65M for Ballarat’s three libraries and outreach service; $1.148M for bicycle strategy projects and bicycle paths; $200,000 additional funding for community events including two new events – Winterlude and the Archies; $300,000 to the City of Ballarat Community Impact Grants Program; $375,000 to the Township Empowerment Programs.
“This year’s budget continues the hard work of building for growth in Ballarat, including stimulating job growth and a stronger local economy. Extensive lobbying with the State Government has secured $53 million to build a better Ballarat,” said Mr Schinck. Ballarat West Employment Zone $5M City of Ballarat, $25M State Government; Wendouree Basketball and Sports Centre $5M City of Ballarat, $9m State Government; Lucas Community Hub $2.65M City of Ballarat, $1.6M State Government. In 2015/16 the following projects, fully funded by the State Government, will commence: $15M Eureka Stadium AFL Upgrade; CE Brown Reserve Clubrooms Upgrade.
The City will also invest $4.5M in sports and recreation projects in 2015/16. Council is dedicated to the Clean Ballarat initiative and projects included in the draft budget are: $2.32M for waste and recycling services and programs; $100,000 to deliver a priority action of the Environmental Sustainable Strategy; $25,000 to replacing street lighting with low energy use light fittings as part of a long term transition project; investigate innovative waste management; and progress options for bio energy within the Ballarat West Employment Zone.
In April Council asked the community to get involved in early discussions through the $4.5 million Budget Priority Projects Survey.
A total of 638 residents completed a questionnaire, sharing their
thoughts on which proposed projects were a priority for Ballarat this year.
A new public toilet will be built in the entertainment precinct of the CBD, improve Her Majesty’s Theatre and Art Gallery, transform the Mining Exchange to a live music venue; deliver a modern community hub at Sebastopol Library; reopen the lookout at Black Hill; build a new fernery at the Botanical Gardens; and lay the groundwork for a new youth space and Regional Motor Sports Facility in Ballarat. The Draft Budget and Council Plan will be available to view from Monday, 18 May: in person at City Of Ballarat Customer Service Centre, 25 Armstrong Street South; Town Hall Sturt Street; online www.ballarat.vic. gov.au.
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