This year has presented us with unprecedented challenges as a result of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. These challenges have been far reaching and have touched all Boroondara residents, businesses, community groups, and the wider community in one way or another. Council is meeting these challenges and continuing its unwavering commitment to provide high quality services and infrastructure for our community.
This Proposed Budget is forward leaning and provides a roadmap to build a better Boroondara. The delivery of more than $80m in shovel-ready capital works projects will create jobs and deliver the local economy a much-needed boost following the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the development of each budget, Council works diligently to balance the needs and priorities of our diverse and growing community. Notably, this budget will:
- Fund COVID-19 support and relief activities to ease the financial burden on Boroondara businesses and residents. Council’s $4.5m support and relief package, announced in April 2020, is part of a suite of initiatives designed to help those who need it most in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 financial years.
- Construct a community precinct in Canterbury at a cost of $11.3m. This precinct will provide vital community services currently operating in various locations across Canterbury, with construction beginning this year.
- Begin the redevelopment of the Kew Recreation Centre, which is projected to cost $68.04m upon completion. Community consultation has been undertaken and we have spoken with more than 2000 members of our community. We are excited to start work on this contemporary facility in late 2020.
- Minimise our environmental footprint by investing more than $4m on a range of initiatives including purchase of 100 per cent green renewable electricity for our buildings and street lighting, replacement of outdated lighting technology with more energy efficient LED lighting, replacement of inefficient heating and cooling systems, installation of solar photovoltaic energy generation systems, development of a 10-year climate action plan and upgrading infrastructure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Council’s high level of service provision to residents will continue. These services include expenditure of:
- $18.5m for parks and gardens, biodiversity and street trees maintenance
- $12.1m on health services including immunisation and aged care support for vulnerable members of our community
- $11.1m for planning, development and building controls
- $11m for maintenance of the city’s infrastructure including buildings, drainage, footpaths, roads and shopping centres
- $9.4m to provide library services 7 days a week
- $8.9m on family, youth and recreation services
- $3.3m on arts and cultural services and events
Some other exciting initiatives include:
- $2.6m for a regional playground at Victoria Park
- $1.05m for shopping centre streetscape improvement works at Cotham Village and Highfield Road
The proposed budget includes a two per cent rate increase in line with the Victorian Government’s rate cap. This increase amounts to less than 60 cents per week for the median value residential property in the city, and is necessary to support the proposed budget initiatives and long term financial plan. For those who are experiencing financial hardship, please contact Council to access support through our Financial Hardship Policy. Unlike other levels of government, Council has no capacity to increase its revenue in future years to recover either the $16m lost due to COVID-19 or a lower rate rise now.
Waste service charges in 2020-21 will decrease on average by 3.9 per cent. The net costs of waste management and associated services are recovered by Council through the waste management charges. The decrease is primarily due to the completion of the introduction of a FOGO (Food Organics Garden Organics) collection service to divert food organics from landfill in 2019-20.
This proposed budget continues to implement the commitments contained in our 10-year Boroondara Community Plan, which was adopted in 2018 based on the feedback received from more than 11,800 residents. Council has met the challenge of delivering services during a State of Emergency caused by COVID-19, and has pivoted the organisation to continue delivering vital services. Through prudent financial management and a whole-of-organisation response to the pandemic, Council is well placed to respond appropriately and continue to meet the needs of our community should further unexpected issues arise within the ambit of the role played by a local government.
Comments or submissions are invited until 1 July 2020 at 5pm and can be made:
- via our online form
- by email at [email protected]
- by mail at Private Bag 1 Camberwell VIC 3124
Public submissions will be heard at the Council meeting on Monday 13 July 2020. Following consideration of submissions, the 2020-21 budget will be presented to Council for adoption.