With the budget due to be finalised, West Wimmera Shire Councillors along with Senior Management Staff recently spent a day touring the Shire to observe and evaluate projects earmarked in the 2019/2020 budget, prior to its formal adoption.
One of the biggest projects that has been discussed as part of Council's budget meetings for the past few years is now finally being actioned. In August 2018, Council resolved to go ahead with the redevelopment of the Edenhope Hall facility and begin building Stage 1. With a recent rally from the community and significant financial commitment, a Special Meeting of Council was called last month, at which Council resolved to continue the build and complete Stage 2 of the project.
We recently met with representatives from the office of the Valuer-General Victoria, the Valuation Authority of Victoria, and its appointed valuers. The presentation explained the substantial increase in rural property values across West Wimmera.
The Shire is divided into three 'Sub Market Groups' which are named Kaniva Rural, Glenelg Rural and Kowree Rural.
Properties within the Kowree Rural area, located through the centre part of the Shire, have seen the largest value increase. It was explained that in undertaking valuations, valuers are guided by and follow the most recent 'similar' property sales within the area. Although this will adjust some rate notices in the next financial year, rate capping will ensure the overall rate revenue across West Wimmera cannot increase above 3.5%.
In late May, CEO David Leahy and I met with the Cross-Border Commissioner, Mr Luke Wilson. This was a very interesting discussion, covering topics which affect West Wimmera residents living close to the South Australian border.
Last week Councillors Hicks, Domaschenz, Meyer, our CEO and I spent two days visiting Spring Street in Melbourne, for our annual Advocacy trip. We met with Ministers and their Senior Advisers lobbying on key issues for West Wimmera, including the 'West Grampians Pipeline', the importance of maintaining our large road network, and continued funding to support the mental health outreach program.