Chief executive Tim Harrison said the budget also includes a budgeted operating surplus of $4.661-million, ‘a measure of financial sustainability and an improvement from the forecast surplus of $1.631-million for 2019/2020’.
“The council is very aware of the financial difficulties many residents are facing – and the huge impacts on the local economy – the COVID-19 event has caused, which is why the 2020/2021 Budget includes a rate cut of one percent,” Dr Harrison said.
“The cut to general rates will help keep rates as close as possible to last year and the council hopes this goes some way to ease some of the stresses our residents are facing at this difficult time.”
Dr Harrison said the budget impact of the decision to cut rates equated to $445,000, which the council would recoup through organisational efficiencies while leaving council services unaffected.
He said the budget aimed to fund ongoing service delivery and the renewal of infrastructure and community assets while avoiding unduly increasing the rate burden in any sector.
“This year’s budget aims to fund key elements of year four of the Council Plan 2017-2021, which was also adopted at Wednesday’s meeting,” he said.
Ararat Rural City Council 2020-2021 Budget outlines key community infrastructure projects including the completion of Ararat on the Move projects at a cost of $650,000.
This includes new netball courts and female-friendly amenities at Ararat’s Alexandra Oval precinct and upgrades to Ararat Skate Park.
Other projects in the budget include upgrades to rural roads such as Darlington-Carranballac Road, $558,000, Woorndoo-Streatham Road, $1.967-million and Tatyoon Road, $3.11-million.
The council will also invest $898,614 in arts, culture and heritage, $250,000 in drainage renewal, and $325,000 in bridges.
Other projects outlined in the budget include: Laby Street drainage and upgrades – $60,000; Baird Street road and drainage upgrades – $160,000; Truscott Street upgrades – $376,000; Heath Street upgrades – $800,000; Willaura-Wickliffe Road upgrades – $1.375-million; Road resheeting work – $1m; road resealing work – $1.405m; foot and bike paths – $160,000; plant and equipment – $965,000; property and buildings – $910,000.
Copies of the budget are available on council website www.ararat.vic.gov.au. Physical copies are available by phoning the council office on 5355 0200.