$10m shire projects

GANNAWARRA Shire Council will spend more than $10 million in capital works projects across the shire following the adoption of its draft budget.

Council's key financial document for the coming 12 months outlines how council will spend the $31.671 million of revenue generated through rates, charges and grants during 2019/2020, with a $3.707 million surplus predicted.

"Council is proud to be able to implement a budget that maintains current services, looks after Council's assets and deliver projects that will benefit both residents and visitors to the area," the mayor, Cr Lorraine Learmonth said.

Key components of the preliminary document were accepted, such as an average rate increase of 2.5 per cent, in line with the Victorian Government's 'Fair Go Rates System'.

The figure allocated for council's capital works program is $10.877 million, which will go towards projects such as road and footpath repairs, bridge works, parks and recreational facility improvements, flood mitigation measures and tourism initiatives.

Alterations to the final budget document in comparison to the draft version were largely based on changes to council's financial position which became clear after the draft document's public release.

Council expects to raise $12,902,000 through rates, comprised of general rates ($10,367,000), municipal charge ($633,000), waste and recyclables ($1,902,000).

Just four public submissions were received in relation to the draft budget document.

They included a submission calling for 'tip passes' to be provided for ratepayers in the shire, due to concern that some people unable to afford tip charges may dump rubbish in bush areas.

In another submission, Cohuna Progress Association stressed its view there is a crucial need to upgrade Cohuna's swimming pool, arguing provision needs to be made for this in the budget.

During Wednesday's meeting, Cr Sonia Wright said she would support the budget, but reluctantly, with the Cohuna swimming pool an area of significant concern for her.

She raised that issue, stating that she is gravely concerned for the future of aquatics in Cohuna and clearly believes an upgrade of the pool is urgently required.

PAGE 3 — Murray River Council budget