East Gippsland Council has released its Draft Budget 2023-24 for community consultation, which includes the largest capital works ever proposed, while meeting the rate cap of 3.5%.
"Council was mindful of cost-of-living pressures and challenging events the community has been experiencing while drafting this budget. We now welcome feedback," Mayor Cr Mark Reeves said.
"It should be noted that our record capital expenditure spend of $105.246 million includes multi-year projects that have been carried over and is backed by around $50 million in government grants," Cr Reeves said.
“Of the total capital works spend, $56.2m are new projects funded by government grants and other contributions ($26m) and Council cash ($30.2m).”
Cr Reeves said the new and upgraded facilities Council had been able to deliver post the Black Summer bushfires had been significant, and worthy of celebration.
“Our large capital works budget has delivered projects such as new skate parks, improved and new sporting facilities, bridges, upgraded streetscapes and the list goes on,” Cr Reeves said.
“The Draft Budget 2023-24 continues to have a strong focus on the renewal of infrastructure, both in completing projects underway and new projects. Towns the length and breadth of our shire will see great work continue on streetscaping, road renewal and upgrades, footpaths, parking and transport improvements, recreation and sporting spaces,” Cr Reeves added.
“These projects directly support our economy in the construction phase, but also have long-term economic impacts and flow-on for visitation and business.”
The Draft Budget proposes an average rate increase of 3.5%, in line with the rate cap set by the Victorian Government. Rate changes by property type will be an average 4.12% for residential; 2.46% for commercial/industrial; and just 0.18% increase for farms.
Individual increases are determined by land valuations, which are not set by Council.
“As most people who own, or who have attempted to purchase property in the past two years will know, property valuations have increased significantly. Property valuations for our shire have risen, on average, 18.02% (residential), 15.9% (commercial/industrial) and 13.17% (farms),” Cr Reeves said.
Council is continuing to provide a rate rebate of $62.47 to eligible properties owned by people who qualify for a Victorian Government-approved pension rebate. The rate waiver in the 2023-24 year for properties where the main dwelling was destroyed or deemed uninhabitable due to the 2019-20 bushfires continues.
User-pays waste charges to increase
The Draft Budget proposes waste fees and charges will increase by 7% to 8%, and the waste levy from $37 to $51. Waste fees and charges will increase for kerbside collection and at waste facilities.
A green waste disposal fee of $12 per cubic metre is proposed to be introduced to assist in offsetting significant processing costs.
“We will provide a free green waste period throughout November to support people in preparing their properties for the fire season and a green waste coupon to allow the disposal of up to 1.5 cubic metres of green waste at transfer stations at no cost.
“The waste fee increase is a user-pays response to the increase in the Victorian Government’s landfill levy imposed on Council as well as other compliance cost increases. Council has no control over these imposed costs,” Cr Reeves said.
Acting Chief Executive Officer Peter Cannizzaro said the Draft Budget strikes a balance between maintaining the delivery of essential services and funding vital new projects.
The Draft Budget is open for public consultation until 12.00 pm, Wednesday, May 31, 2023. You can find a helpful guide to the draft Budget here.
Submissions can be made via Council’s YourSay page or by mail to Council or lodging feedback in writing at one of Council’s Customer Service Centres.