The 2017/18 budget shows the resources required over the year to fund the delivery of the multitude and varied range of services Council provides to our community It has been developed through a rigorous process of consultation and review aimed at ensuring it delivers the community needs whilst delivering best value.

The 2017/18 budget call for an overall increase in rates of 3.25%. After intensive financial modelling, Council concluded that to deliver the varied scope of services it needed to the community whilst remaining financially viable, it would need to increase rates in excess of the published rate cap of 2.0% for the 2017/18 year. Council applied to Essential Services Commission Victoria and was granted an exemption from the rate cap enabling it to increase rates by up to 3.5% for the 2017/18, 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21 years. Any additional funding raised by the rate cap variation will be used on asset renewal to ensure that our community assets are maintained in a condition that they can continue providing efficient service into the future. Council considered that a 3.25% rate increase for the 2017/18 year was appropriate.

Council was adversely affected by the September 2016 floods, with approximately $15 million total damage to Council assets. It is anticipated that flood recovery and reconstruction works valued at approximately $8.0 million will be undertaken in the 2017/18 financial year. All of these works will be funded by the National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.

The budget maintains a significant and robust capital works program for 2017/18 of $14.84 million, including $10.26 million spent on our roads and $1.75 million on our community buildings.

The 2017/18 budget also provides significant amounts of funding for ongoing program and service delivery, including:

• Ongoing maintenance of our local roads and bridges $2.51 million

• Provision of aged and disability services $0.66 million

• Parks and Gardens maintenance across the shire $0.04 million

• Support for Library Services $0.16 million

• Provision of Youth and Family services $0.70 million

In developing the 2017/18 Budget Council has been particularly aware of the need to balance the ongoing financial sustainability of Council with community expectation of service levels and the capacity to pay. Council has attempted maintain service levels whilst keeping the rate increase to a minimum and providing best value with an eye to maintaining a vibrant and sustainable future for the municipality.

© West Wimmera Shire Council 2018. All rights reserved.