The City of Boroondara’s Annual Report 2015–16, released today, details achievements and challenges for the year, and how Council met the objectives and commitments in its Annual Plan and Budget for 2015–16.
In 2015-16, Council completed 95 per cent of its Annual Plan commitments with the remaining 5 per cent underway. Council is in a strong financial position, paying off loans faster, with a forecast to be debt free by 2026.
In the annual state-wide Local Government Community Satisfaction Survey, the City of Boroondara was yet again ranked as one of the top performing councils across the state and metropolitan area.
“While we are pleased with this result, we continue to work hard to ensure our service offering is contemporary and that we simplify frustrating processes that get in the way of a good customer experience,” said Councillor Jim Parke, Mayor of Boroondara.
“This year we made a significant investment in the Boroondara Customer First Program, removing double handling and improving processes and IT systems to create a seamless experience for customers, so they’re at the centre of everything we do,” Cr Parke said.
A net surplus of $41.12 million was reported, which is $13.6m above what was forecast. This was due to conservative budgeting of revenue streams for public open space contributions and supplementary valuations, as well as carry over of funds for four major capital works which will be delivered across multiple financial years.
Council invested $45 million in renewal, expansion and upgrade works over the past year including $4.1 million on our parks, open spaces, playgrounds and streetscapes; $15.8 million on drains, footpaths and local roads, and $19 million on the renewal of community buildings.
Council also funds a range of ongoing services to the community, with expenditure in the past year including $12.4 million on aged, disability and health services, $8.6 million to operate our five public libraries and $5 million on families and youth services.
Balwyn North saw the completion of the redevelopment of the Boroondara Sports Complex ($10.3 million) and planning for the development of a new North East Community Hub commenced.
Another $8.9 million was invested in projects including the Glenferrie Water Management Plan, Camberwell Fresh Food Market entry works, the Hawthorn Arts Centre Civic Space, an extension to the Hawthorn U3A building, Victoria Park master plan works including paths and entry works, Shopping Centre Improvement Plan works at Harp Village and Gordon Barnard Reserve East oval reconstruction.
While there were many achievements over the past year, there were also some challenges.
“Although we agree that rates must be kept affordable, it is disappointing that the Victorian Government has imposed a cap on the annual increase in rate revenue that councils can generate,” Cr Parke said.
“Rate capping creates uncertainty around future rate revenue for Councils and is inconsistent with Councils’ statutory obligation to develop long-term strategic plans.”
Council also constantly battles to balance the Victorian Government direction in planning with community expectations.
When Council sought community views about the impact of new single dwellings on our City earlier this year, close to 1,000 submissions were received. The majority expressed concerns about established homes being demolished and replaced with large modern homes. Single dwellings are built under Victorian Government building regulations and Council’s responsibilities and statutory powers regarding the approval of these developments are very limited.
“We’ve had some success with our advocacy to introduce better residential design standards for our community,” Cr Parke said.
“There is now a limit in the number of dwellings per lot and a two-storey height limit to parts of our City to maintain its residential character, We’ll continue to address community concerns and keep people informed on our progress to preserve what we love about Boroondara’s streetscapes and heritage.
“All this great work relies on the continued support and input of our residents, local businesses, community groups and Council officers. I thank everyone who has helped shape these many achievements in 2015-16.”
To read the report, see www.boroondara.vic.gov.au/annual-report
For more information email Andrew Birks, Leader Communication Strategy and Performance. Phone: 9278 4329