Council sights on priority projects

Investment in recreational and community facilities are key drivers of Glenelg Shire Council’s draft $59m 2022/2023 budget.

Council has called for public feedback on the draft document, which provides a comprehensive $10m capital works program to deliver on key priority projects, carry forward of capital works and new initiatives.

This includes new capital projects such as $1m commitment towards a revamp of the Heywood Aquatic Facility and $1m contribution toward a new Portland Multi-Purpose Stadium Complex, investment in recreational and community facilities, including playground upgrades, and new footpaths and carparks.

Glenelg Shire Mayor Anita Rank said existing projects to be completed include lighting upgrades at Island Park and Heywood Recreation Reserve, development of a new multi-purpose facility at the Portland Foreshore and Merino and Heywood Transfer Station improvements.

“The investment in community assets over the next four years is unprecedented and we anticipate that this will create countless opportunities for our community to continue to grow, thrive and achieve,” Mayor Rank said.

“For example, we have committed $1m each for upgrades to the Heywood Aquatic facility and Portland Multi-Purpose Stadium in the new financial year.

“These are the projects that our communities have been advocating for.

“The benefits of these facilities are many and include improved health and wellbeing health as well as flow-on, increased participation effects for the region such as liveability and investment attraction.

“The budget also commits several million dollars to these projects over the next few years.”

Mayor Rank also said changes to rating charges were included in the draft budget.

“This is a budget that continues to build a solid foundation, ensuring council has a strong and sustainable financial position in the years ahead,” she said.

“We developed the budget following broad community consultation held in February on the Rate Differential Discussion paper – we heard from ratepayers and gathered insights to help inform the rate model and one that is considered best practice.

“As a result, we have moved away from the rebate scheme and are transitioning to a differential rate structure – this will affect all ratepayers in the Shire.

“The new model will see a more equitable rate burden spread across all categories, from general property, primary production, commercial and industrial to cultural and recreational land.

“Rate increases have also been capped at 1.75% in line with the Victorian Government’s Fair Go Rates System.

“Despite the financial challenge this poses, council is determined to maintain and enhance its services, while working within the cap.

“Whilst the rate cap is set at 1.75% over all rateable income, individual assessments may vary given the valuation changes to a particular property.

“Valuations across the shire have increased by over 30% on average but this does not mean that your rates will also increase by that amount.”

Submissions on the draft budget will be heard on June 14 at a special council meeting.

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