GOLDEN Plains Shire Council’s draft budget is a responsible budget that caters to the needs of a growing population, according to mayor Jenny Blake.
The 2014-15 council budget includes a proposal to increase rates and charges across the shire by 6.8 per cent.
Cr Blake said revenue from rates and charges equalled 45 per cent of the council’s total revenue, as opposed to the state average of 60 per cent.
“Communities all get quite concerned around the issues of rising rates and it’s all very well to sit back and say we can’t afford to have an increase in rates, but we also can’t afford not to plan for the future needs of a growing municipality,” she said.
Australian Bureau of Statistics figures on annual population show the Golden Plains Shire is ranked in the top six fastest growing areas in Victoria, with Bannockburn, Smythesdale, Inverleigh and Teesdale leading the growth. The draft budget outlines that the council would need to spend a total of $48 million over the next 12 months to deliver sufficient services, programs and infrastructure projects.
Programs and services would include $12.5 million for road and street infrastructure, $7.7 million for recreation and community spaces and $7.8 million for human support services.
Cr Blake said with the shire being home to young people and an ageing population, there was increased pressure to deliver a range of services.
“With a third of the population under the age of 17, there is pressure on council to deliver a range of services from day care and kindergarten and playgroups to playgrounds, recreation reserves, skate parks and youth support activities,” she said.
“Council’s ageing population needs to be provided with home and community care, meals on wheels and other services.
“In coming years, as the population grows, this demand for a wide range of services will also continue to grow.”
Cr Blake said she encouraged residents to make their views known through the written submission process before May 31.
The draft budget is available for inspection on goldenplains.vic.gov.au