Council has set aside more than $130 million in capital works investment as part of the 2021-22 draft budget which was unanimously endorsed last night.
Headlining council's capital works program is $4.2 million for the Alfredton Reserve upgrade, $2.8 million for lighting at Lake Wendouree and $2.7 million for stage two of Mars Stadium, all of which include state government support.
Other projects include $2 million to deliver LED lighting upgrades across the city, $2 million for CBD parking, $1.58 million for footpath renewal and construction, $700,000 for outdoor dining and 'streetscape activation' in the CBD and $6.9 million over two years to redevelop the Ballarat Library.
Of council's $130.9 million capital spend, $33.5 million will come from state and federal government grants after a $5.8 million increase led by council's advocacy program.
Of the capital investment, $90 million will be spent on maintaining existing assets including roads and bridges.
Included in the capital spend is also $38 million of carryovers from undelivered capital works projects which have been included in the draft budget rather than being reported next year.
After rates were frozen last year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, council will also increase rates by 1.5 per cent in line with the state government's prescribed rate cap as part of the draft budget.
However, rates for commercial and industrial properties will be reduced as their values increased at a lower rate than that of residential, rural and farm properties, which in turn will share a 'greater proportion of the rate burden'.
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With waste charges also halted in line with council's freeze on all rates and charges in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the waste charge will also increase by 14.75 per cent, costing ratepayers an estimated $3.4 million next financial year, $1.3 million more than this year.
Council said the increased waste charges were a result of rising waste collection costs and an increase in the EPA levy to $105 per tonne.
Chief executive Evan King said while last year's budget was designed to respond to the devastating impact of COVID-19, this year's budget reflected 'a renewed focus and commitment to the growth, renewal and delivery of projects and services'.
Mayor Daniel Moloney said the draft budget was developed following an extensive consultation process.
"We've heard quite loud and clear from our public that they want us to continue to improve how we maintain our infrastructure. We've heard that sustainability and managing a sustainable growth are also coming through as quite strong themes as well. This budget goes much to the way to achieving that," he said.
"We recognise the need for a strong and vibrant CBD. We've committed quite strongly to that, especially in regard to the Bridge Mall redevelopment and other key initiatives in our CBD, but also, we're hearing very strongly from the public that we want to see more investment in some of our well-established older suburbs such as Sebastopol, Delacombe, Wendouree, Miners Rest and this budget does deliver on that."
The draft budget is currently open for community consultation until 9am on Monday, June 7 and is available at council's customer service centre, Town Hall and on council's website. To read the budget and make a submission, visit mysay.ballarat.vic.gov.au/budget-2021-2022
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