Proposed Budget focuses on recovery

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Infrastructure investment and support programs to drive the region’s economic and social recovery from the COVID-19 emergency are at the centre of the City of Greater Geelong’s Proposed Budget 2020-21.

The Council has tonight resolved to release its Proposed Budget for public feedback.

A core focus is a $161.2 million capital works program, which will provide a critical boost to local investment, strengthen local employment and provide essential facilities and services that our community relies on.

The Proposed Budget retains our commitment to the four-year Council Plan, while committing significant funding towards initiatives that will help the region rebound from the global coronavirus crisis and supporting jobs and flow-on economic activity by maintaining momentum on projects that will play a critical recovery role in the longer-term.

The capital works program also aims to provide fair and equitable access to places, spaces and services where they are most needed.

This targeted investment is complemented by our initial $4.9 million COVID-19 support package and a $4 million community grants program that will provide further direct assistance to those in need.

The aim of presenting a break-even budget in 2020-21 was modified following facility closures and the implementation of support packages and other relief initiatives to support the community, business, sporting and arts sectors.

The Proposed Budget now forecasts a recurrent deficit of $8 million, with the modified financial position allowing us to increase our capacity to assist those in need.

While Council had an option to delay its release of the Proposed Budget, City leaders were committed to providing certainty about forward investment in service and infrastructure programs.

To underpin this level of investment and recovery and relief efforts, the Proposed Budget includes an average residential rate rise of 1.9 per cent.

This is under the Victorian Government’s rates cap of 2 per cent.

The rating system has also been made fairer by the removal of the flat municipal charge on all properties.

The Council has created a significant financial hardship policy which provides residents experiencing financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic the ability to access waivers on fees, charges and interest on all debts and/or put their rates payments on hold.

Anyone wishing to discuss their options is invited to email [email protected]
or call 5272 5272.

The Proposed Budget can be viewed online at www.yoursay.geelongaustralia.com.au and a hard copy is available upon request.

Submissions are invited and will be received until Tuesday 26 May.

Mayor Stephanie Asher

This budget demonstrates the Council’s commitment to directing investment toward the programs and services which will help our region to recover in the aftermath of this global emergency and reaffirms that our biggest priority is our community’s long-term health and assisting those in need.
A key focus is also on maintaining our commitment to a significant capital works program as this will be crucial in helping to keep people employed, allow services and activities to best return to normal and improve access to essential services for our community.
Our budget deliberations were well advanced before the COVID-19 restrictions were introduced, which has allowed us to stick to the original schedule and present this Proposed Budget now. The Proposed Budget provides a considered baseline which we can update as the full extent of the impacts of the pandemic become clearer. As recommended by the state government, we are forecasting a deficit which reflects our immediate and medium-term response to the impact of the virus. This aligns with the approach taken by both federal and state governments.
We expect to identify other areas where we can provide stimulus and relief for those affected, to sit alongside our first two community support packages. I encourage you to view the Proposed Budget and look forward to receiving and considering your feedback.

 

Cr Anthony Aitken, Chair, Finance portfolio

None of us anticipated the unexpected challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has imposed on us - our Council budget included. We are proposing a deficit budget during this unparalleled time because people look to their governments to provide leadership, support and stability.
The proposed 2020-2021 Council budget is fair and financially sustainable; it is mindful of those who need assistance and focuses on recovery measures to support our economy in Geelong when other businesses cannot. It maintains a long-held view in Australia that when you can contribute you do, and when you need help it is available.
 Council is encouraging all residents and businesses who can contribute to pay their rates. They can be assured they will be playing a key role in supporting the Geelong community as their funds will allow us to deliver essential services for everyone and invest in the projects that will aid the region’s recovery.




Page last updated: Wednesday, 29 April 2020

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