Council’s mid-year budget review identifies further cost savings for ratepayers
Febrary 24, 2017
As part of Colac Otway Shire Council’s ongoing commitment to cost savings, a $6.26 million surplus has been identified compared to an original budget forecast of $6.04 million, as part of Council’s mid-year budget review for 2016/17.
Despite the challenges caused by fire and flood faced by the shire in recent times, management was able to identify a number of savings which will provide Council with a firm basis to implement projects and infrastructure improvements for the remainder of the financial year.
Mayor Chris Potter said the positive results of the mid-year review demonstrated Council’s ongoing responsiveness to emerging trends and issues.
“Council remains in a strong financial position which ensures long-term sustainability for its ratepayers and the local community,” he said.
“In spite of the introduction of rate-capping and the impacts of the bushfire and flood and storm event, Council has been able to budget for some impressive programs through identifying significant cost savings.”
In response to increasing development and population growth, a section of Queen Street from Pound Road to Harris Road will be upgraded with drainage and footpath construction works to the value of almost $1.5 million over three years. This is part of broader footpath and cycleway works to the value of $1.53 million across the shire this financial year and includes $454,000 for footpath extensions and renewals separate to Queen Street.
Two hundred thousand dollars has been allocated to implement key actions of the Lake Colac Master Plan and matching funding will be sought by Council from the Building Better Regions Fund.
“Lake Colac means so much to the community, so Council has proposed improvements like tables and lighting as well as significant infrastructure improvements such as the replacement of the old pine pedestrian bridge across Barongarook Creek and a shared pathway across Queen Street and better car parking,” Cr Potter said.
“These improvements will enhance the connection between residential and business areas and should be complete by 2019,” he said.
Several substantial infrastructure projects are included in the budget also, including $18.3 million for delivery of Council’s capital works program and $9.12 million for the roads program, including $2.3 million for recovery works in bushfire affected areas.
“We have worked hard to find savings and to ensure we have maintained a strong focus on delivering the services our community needs and to look after assets and essential infrastructure like roads,” Cr Potter said.
“Council officers are constantly working diligently to provide cost-savings for ratepayers so we can deliver more for our community. The mid-year review highlights the excellent work achieved to date.
“This is a financially responsible draft budget that ensures Colac Otway Shire Council remains in a sustainable, low-risk financial position,” he said.
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