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City’s 2018/19 Budget delivers valued services

Posted on July 04, 2018

At its meeting on 3 July Council formally adopted its 2018/19 Budget.

The City of Bayswater’s reputation for supporting a vibrant and diverse community that embraces its inner east location while maintaining a strong connection to the natural environment is gaining momentum every day. Council is confident this Budget will build on these strong foundations by continuing to deliver the services its residents value.

Mayor Dan Bull said putting together a Budget is not something that happens overnight.

“To develop a Budget that facilitates the delivery of services our community values and maintains our existing assets is no easy task but it is one I feel confident this Council has achieved.”

“I make no excuses for the fact that this is a frugal Budget. This is not a Budget filled with ‘big ticket’ new projects. Given the current economic conditions our decision to remain a debt free Council is deliberate.

“The development of this year’s Budget has not occurred in a vacuum. External cost pressures have played a key a role in Budget deliberations.

“Here in the City 90 percent of our rates revenue comes from residential properties and as such the rates burden is carried mostly by residents who are already feeling the pressure from increases in the cost of utilities.

“Just like our ratepayers, we are faced with increases in the cost of water, electricity and fuel – these significantly impact our operations. For example, this year the City will pay an extra $35,000 in electricity costs just to keep our street lights on.

“We are mindful of the impact cost increases have on household budgets so we have again kept our ‘rate in the dollar’ low.

“In real terms, this means the owner of an average sized property in the City of Bayswater will see an increase in their rates bill of around a dollar a week or $40 on their annual bill. Compared to our neighbouring Councils this is extremely low.

“This year our rates increased by 3.5 percent. However, this is not an accurate way of comparing Bayswater against other Councils as our consistently ‘low rate in the dollar’ and ‘low minimum rate’ ensure our residential property owners pay lower rates.

“The City of Bayswater has built a reputation on the delivery of services that our community value.

“This financial year we will spend $3.1 million on the operation of three libraries, $9.6 million on our three recreation centres and $5.7 million on supporting over 120 local sporting clubs through the provision of club rooms and facilities.

“We will spend $8.4 million on the maintenance of over 188 parks, ovals and open spaces. This equates to 380 hectares of green space and includes two public golf courses and 25 active sporting ovals.

“As part of our Playground Replacement Program we will deliver five new playgrounds at a total cost of $435,000.

“This Budget will fund $9.8 million in upgrades to roads, footpaths and drains as we continue to manage a local road network that spans 360km and carries a replacement cost of $172 million.

“$1.3 million of this Budget will go towards the management of parking, promotion of responsible pet ownership and ensuring our City is bushfire ready. We understand our residents want to feel safe and have invested heavily in a network of CCTV cameras to complement our regular security patrol service. This year we will spend $2 million on security to make our neighbourhood safer.

"We are particularly passionate about the environment, dedicating valuable time and resources to addressing water quality, protecting our wetlands and planting over 1,500 trees to address our declining tree canopy. This year we will spend $400,000 on tree planting. An early adopter of the three-bin system we are serious about reducing waste and educating our residents about how they can contribute.

“The very fabric of our community lies with the respect we show our most vulnerable residents so we continue to operate two senior citizen centres, and oversee three residential care facilities and four retirement villages. We prioritise the health of young children and their mothers, and will continue to operate five child health centres, immunisation clinics and conduct health inspections at local eateries - at a cost of $2 million.

“We are committed to strengthening our strategic planning framework and have committed $3 million to better manage growth and ensure the delivery of well-designed buildings. This will complement the success we continue to achieve through the activation of our major town centres of Bayswater, Morley, Maylands and Noranda. 

“We will continue to host community events that bring families together to celebrate this glorious City we live in. We will deliver a streamlined community grants program worth $440,000 that supports environmental and community initiatives brought forward by the raft of hardworking volunteers that give up their time so selflessly to make our City a better place to live, work and visit.

“Council has worked hard to deliver this Budget in a difficult economic climate. Over the previous year we have been working to proactively reduce costs, remove labour intensive processes and cut ‘red tape’. As an organisation we are becoming more agile in our delivery of the services our customers want. Efficiencies have been realised through the relocation of our ‘out post’ customer service outlets into our existing three libraries. We are updating our website which will result in more of the services you value being delivered online.

“Council is working hard to leverage as much revenue as possible from sources other than rates thus reducing the burden residents face. We are developing an advocacy framework to ensure we are best placed to attract grant funding for key infrastructure projects, sustainable initiatives and innovation in technology.

“I believe Council is well positioned to deliver on the vision created through ongoing consultation with our community. This Budget is a record of Council’s commitment to deliver the services valued by the community."

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