Port Phillip Draft Budget 2016/17 released for consultation

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Continuing efficiencies and improvements have allowed Port Phillip Council to deliver a Draft Budget 2016/17 which funds a raft of major projects to upgrade and renew the facilities and open spaces enjoyed by the community without reducing services.

Mayor Bernadene Voss said the Draft Budget, now released for consultation, had achieved a terrific outcome for the City’s diverse and growing community, despite the challenges posed by the VictorianGovernment’s introduction of the 2.5 per cent cap on rate increases.

“This includes $45 million of projects, one of the largest programs we have ever undertaken, to deliver significant projects and upgrade ageing assets.”

“We will continue to progress the Ferrars Street Education and Community Precinct in Fisherman’s Bend and about $5 million has been allocated for sustainability initiatives ranging from improved transport options to lower greenhouse gas emissions,” continued Mayor Voss.

Council’s longstanding commitment to supporting affordable housing continues, $990,000 is allocatedfor renewing Council’s popular parks and playgrounds and $8.5 million is proposed for waste reductioninitiatives, such as curbside waste and recycling and hard waste collection, to reduce waste going to landfill.

About $15 million is listed for maintaining and managing Port Phillip’s beautiful open spaces,including the foreshore.

Libraries, support to help older members of the community, and those living with a disability, to live independently and access arts and sports programs, and early childhood education and care and maternal and child health services are among the many services and programs funded over 2016/17.

Extensive community consultation before the Draft Budget included a direct mail out to all residents, online survey, pop-up engagement events and stakeholder meetings. This resulted in more than 1000 pieces of feedback to inform the Draft Budget and review of the Council Plan 2013-17.

“We understand our community expects value for money and have worked hard to close the gapbetween our costs and the rates cap,” Cr Voss said.

“Careful planning and prioritisation have delivered, $5 million of ongoing savings over the past two years and we expect to achieve another $2 million in ongoing savings over 2016/17.

“We did not seek an exemption from the rates cap limit this year but as our population is expected toalmost double over the next 20 years we may need to review this position in the future to ensure we can provide the extra services and facilities these new residents will require. Continuing challenges include keeping rates affordable while managing ageing community assets, continued government cost shifting and unexpected costs which may suddenly emerge.”

While the proposed rates increase is 2.5 per cent, individual changes in rates this year will reflect recent property revaluations. The revaluation process ensures the share of rates across the municipality reflects changes in property values. Some rates will increase above the average 2.5 per cent and some will be below.

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