Council Plan and budget deliver affordable rates and reliable, quality services
June 29, 2017
Affordable rates and reliable, quality services are the hallmarks of the new Colac Otway Shire Council’s first budget and four-year plan.
Council adopted its 2017-18 budget with the lowest rate rise in history of 0.63 per cent, while at the same time setting an ambitious future program of work in its four-year Council Plan.
Mayor Chris Potter said the budget and Council Plan were the organisation’s two most important guiding documents that would help this Council pave the way for a prosperous future for Colac Otway.
“These two documents were both enormous undertakings that required an extensive amount of teamwork between councillors, Council officers and the community,” he said.
“I’d like to thank the many community members who contributed to the budget and Council Plan and helped us make sure that they reflected the aspirations local people have for our shire.”
Key highlights from the 2017-18 budget include:
• The lowest average rate rise in history of 0.63 per cent
• A reduction in the farm rate differential from 79 per cent to 77 per cent, resulting in a cash saving for most farmers
• Reduced operating costs but no changes to service levels
• The delivery of a significant $21.64 million capital works program including:
o $5.1 million for road reconstruction, re-sheeting, re-sealing and safety upgrades
o $1.06 million landslip restoration work including work at Lardner’s Track
o $700,000 for the Queen Street footpath improvement between Pound Road and Hearn Street
o $181,057 for the redevelopment of netball facilities at the Irrewarra Beeac Recreation Reserve
o Additional greenwaste collections for all residents who receive kerbside collections, in lead up to the fire season
o The delivery of an underlying surplus and no new borrowings.
Meanwhile, Cr Potter said the Council Plan outlined 21 goals and 70 actions that would be worked on during the next four years under the themes of ‘our prosperity’, ‘our places’, ‘our community’ and ‘our leadership and management’.
He said 93 measures had been developed to track Council’s progress, which would be reported in the annual report.
Highlights of the Council Plan include:
• Development of an economic development strategy for the shire to drive future business investment
• Establish a residential housing strategy to ensure current and future stock is suitable to attract new residents
• Prepare an infrastructure masterplan for Apollo Bay and coastal townships covering roads, car parking, bus parking, footpaths and stormwater drainage
• Work in partnership with other stakeholders to minimise coastal erosion
• Deliver localised planning to communities to reduce fire risk
• Continue to support the Apollo Bay community’s advocacy for the development of a public indoor heated swimming pool
• Build the capacity of local sporting groups to promote healthy eating and physical activity
• Increased advocacy in partnership with our community to enhance cultural awareness, inclusiveness, safety and health, community and family education
• Continue to support community organisations through grants programs
Our leadership and management
• Manage the short and long-term financial sustainability of the shire through prudent financial management
• Implement a program of ongoing service reviews to ensure our services are efficient and effective and are valued by the community
• Enhance opportunities for increased local spending of Council expenditure
Cr Potter said he believed that the Colac Otway Shire was poised for growth, and the budget and Council Plan provided a solid framework to pursue opportunities.
“We’ve worked hard to strike the right balance between our aspirations for growth and the need to protect our environment and rural areas that are the lifeblood of our economy,” he said.
“As a council we’re committed to providing quality services and infrastructure at a price our community can afford.
“We’re excited to finalise our blueprint for serving this community for the next four years and we look forward to achieving the targets outlined in our Council Plan in partnership with the people of Colac Otway.”