Colac Otway Responds to COVID19 Impact in 2020-21 Draft Budget
May 14, 2019
Colac Otway Shire’s 2020-21 Draft Budget responds to COVID19 with business and community support measures totalling almost $1 million, while delivering a rate increase below the state rate cap and investing more than $10 million in capital works.
Colac Otway Shire Council has placed the 2020-21 Draft Budget on public exhibition and is urging the community to view the proposal, get involved and have their say in the important process to decide how funds are spent next year.
The draft budget proposes a 1.5 per cent rate rise (0.5 per cent less than the State’s CPI rate cap of 2 per cent), and includes maintaining the Rural Farm differential rate at 75 per cent (not 73 per cent as detailed in 2019-20 rating strategy).
Proposed annual weekly kerbside collection charges will drop from $315 to $300 a year and ratepayers who receive fortnightly collection will receive an annual charge of $205 down from $215 if the draft budget is adopted.
Shire Mayor Cr Jason Schram said Council was in the process of developing the draft when the Federal and State Government introduced restrictions in response to COVID19, impacting businesses, our wider community and Council operations
“Colac Otway is proposing to make significant changes to our budget in response to COVID19 because we understand the significant impact on our community, particularly businesses,” Cr Schram said.
“This has been a tough draft budget to develop while we’ve faced an unprecedented State of Emergency and a situation we could never have predicted.
“Council’s revenue has taken a huge hit, like our businesses, and we have responded with this proposed budget in the best way we can, without really knowing what the true extent of the impact on our community will be.
“We have proposed a rate increase but we will spend it to help support businesses, particularly those in hospitality and tourism, and rebuild our community, including moving ahead with capital works where we can to boost our economy.
“The budget proposes to reduce its operating and capital expenditure by a total of $1.94 million to enable Council to deliver a responsible budget while supporting the community and covering expected lost revenue and increased costs resulting from the pandemic,” he said.
“Council responded immediately in March to pressure on ratepayers from the COVID situation by initially extending due dates for rate payments and not charging penalty interest until June 30, which the draft budget proposes to extend to 31 December, 2020.”
The draft budget then builds on that response by supporting the community through:
- $423,000 Business and Community Support Fund
- Waiving 2020/21 Health & Food Registration Fees ($172,000)
- Waiving 2020/21 Street Furniture Fees ($48,000)
- Commercial Lease Relief where required ($101,000)
- Recreation Lease Support ($31,000)
- No increase from 2019/20 in non-statutory fees and charges ($100,000)
The draft budget also includes a $785,000 revenue and expenditure adjustment as a direct impact of the pandemic on Council operations including the closure of Colac Otway’s Bluewater Leisure Centre and COPACC facilities.
The Business and Community Support Fund will be developed further to target the hardest hit areas of business and community as the impact of the COVID response is realised.
The Draft Budget will be on exhibition for 42 days and will be available online at www.colacotway.vic.gov.au and a hard copy can be viewed by appointment from Monday, 18 May.
Due to current social distancing restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic the draft budget can only be inspected at Council’s customer service centres, via appointment. Please contact our customer service staff on (03) 5232 9400 to arrange an appointment.
All written submissions lodged with the Council will become public documents which will be included in any public agenda addressing this item; as well, all written submissions will be made available for inspection by the public in accordance with the Act.
Council will meet to formally consider the Budget at the Ordinary Council meeting on Wednesday, 22 July 2020 at 4pm at COPACC.