Colac Otway Budget Preparation Continuing
April 20, 2019
Colac Otway Shire Mayor Cr Jason Schram says the COVID-19 situation has made the preparation of the 2020-21 Council budget a complex and challenging process.
Cr Schram has assured the Colac Otway community that consideration of how Council can best support those most affected by the pandemic crisis is a priority and a great deal of work is being undertaken as part of developing the budget framework.
“Council has been working on the 2020-21 budget since late last year when we carried out our community consultation and asked our residents and ratepayers about projects and areas they wanted Council to direct funds.
“We were preparing a budget under normal circumstances until a relatively short time ago when we started to understand the impact of the coronavirus on our community and of course, the impact on the rest of the world
“Council is meeting weekly to discuss significant issues affecting our community and we are reworking the budget framework.
“Next year’s budget must provide flexibility and contingency arrangements to meet the shire’s needs if the COVID-19 impact extends over a long period of time. We also need to consider that our shire does not have large cash reserves.
“Council is considering how it can support the residents and the sectors most affected, and is conscious that it cannot be business as usual as we respond to the social and economic effects of the coronavirus.
“We are also mindful that many of the services that Council provides are essential, or at least very important to the lives of our residents, and we must continue to deliver these services.
“Council has introduced a range of measures to provide immediate payment relief to residents and ratepayers affected by COVID-19 such as charging no interest on unpaid rates through to July 31 and no penalties for those unable to pay animal registration or other Council payments at the moment.
“We encourage anyone who has lost their job or had their business impacted by coronavirus and needs a further rate payment extension or wishes to arrange a payment plan to contact Council and discuss the option that suits best.
“If people need help, we want to hear from them and that will help inform our budget decisions.”