2014/15 Budget Wrap-Up

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Port Philip’s fiscal outlook for the next financial year was sealed on a chilly late June evening at council headquarters. In the tradition of bad news first, homeowners, you guessed it – rates are going up. Expect an average of four and three quarters per cent rise but subject to property valuations as of the first of the year.

Naturally, property valuations are somewhat of a double edged sword, residents lucky enough to own in areas which typically experience above average increases in property values may be in for an above average increase in yearly rates.

Now some good news – playgrounds! Council is committed to continue funding (as it did last year) two Adventure Playground programs in South Melbourne and St Kilda, despite the federal government’s apparent contempt for fun. Council funding won’t last forever though, and funds are expected to run out early next year where the program will be up for review if no additional grants come through.

Council are working with stakeholders, including schools, educators, and staff, on a smooth and hassle free transition to alternative care arrangements for when Council family day care and vacation care services cease. Envisioned services were cut when a preliminary review of the family day care program concluded that the program had lost viability due to the fluctuating childcare industry, as well as a decline in home based carers available and the increasing preference for centre based child care. Two new family and childrens centres were opened up to help meet demand, Bubup Nairm in St Kilda and Bubup Womindjeka in Port Melbourne.

Now all you single, share house dwellers with no baggage, don’t fret, you haven’t been left out. Your beloved St Kilda Festival will get a beefy $1.15 million dollar grant for next years shindig.

Where else is it all going?

• $2 million plus in permanent ongoing operational savings achieved with a further $1.8 million savings target for 2014-2015.
• Capital program of $32.7 million.
• Extra $390,000 to manage public spaces, including at reserves and at the foreshores, over peak summer holidays and for special events.
• A $4 increase in the council sponsored pensioner rate rebate to $148.
• $1 million for the Seaside Project (Triangle Incorporated)
• $400,000 for Fishermans Bend Urban Renewal Area projects
• $892,000 for initiatives to increase village vibrancy.
• Extra $6 million in assets renewal funding.

Hopefully this year’s budget has something for everyone and cuts are light and increases aren’t too deep in the pocket. In the interests of local community democracy, Mayor Amanda Stevens thanks those that made formal submissions on the Draft Budget released for comment in May. Hopefully your input has made a difference in ensuring a fair and balanced outcome for all of Port Philip’s booming population, now surpassing six figures.


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