Greater Shepparton City Council adopts 2019-20 budget

By Ashlea Witoslawski

Greater Shepparton City Council’s 2019-20 annual budget was adopted at Tuesday’s council meeting.

The budget proposes a 2.5 per cent increase in rates revenue and a 1.8 per cent increase in kerbside collection charges, which will generate $79.67million across the financial year.

City of Greater Shepparton Mayor Kim O’Keeffe said the council’s budget aimed to generate an operating surplus. She said the budget was ‘‘financially responsible’’.

‘‘What was presented for adoption was a financially responsible budget which achieves a balance between wants and needs in order to efficiently manage our resources and provide high quality services and infrastructure to our community,’’ she said.

Cr Fern Summer opposed the budget presented to council on Tuesday, taking particular issue with funding for the new Shepparton Art Museum, which received $26.28million for the building, as well as the municipal charge collected from each household for the purpose of covering some of the administrative costs of council.

‘‘If we freed up the municipal charge, people would have disposable income,’’ she said.

Cr Dinny Adem moved the recommendation to accept the 2019-20 budget, showing his full support for the document.

‘‘We’re spending our ratepayers’ money in the best possible way,’’ he said.

‘‘Overall I’m very happy with the budget and I fully support it.’’

Cr Les Oroszvary also supported it. He was particularly pleased the council remained within the 2.5 per cent rate cap, with the works planned at Princess Park and stage two of the Safer City Camera Network.

‘‘This is a fiscally responsible budget,’’ he said.

The budget was authorised for public submission on April 23 and public notice was given on April 26.

The submission period ended on May 24 with 29 submissions received.

Through the submissions, changes were made to the draft budget before it was considered for adoption.

The proposed fee increases for the Shepparton saleyards were removed, which saw fees stay at 2018-19 levels.

‘‘The Princess Park facilities precinct detailed design added $237000 to the capital budget, while Tatura children’s centre and Tatura Community House car park submissions’ requests were covered with $74000 in the budget,’’ a council statement said.

And $242000 was provided for stage one of the Mooroopna war memorial, which fulfilled the project funding target.

Cr Adem was disappointed Shepparton’s Botanic Gardens did not receive a budget increase.

‘‘You can’t always please everyone in the community,’’ he said.

Cr Summer agreed and said council ‘‘have not given up’’ on the gardens.

‘‘I don’t believe council has given up on that project,’’ she said.

‘‘Maybe we can revisit it in the future.’’

The adopted annual budget can be viewed on council’s website.