City of Greater Bendigo ups fees in conservative draft budget

MONEY MAN: The City of Greater Bendigo chief executive Craig Niemann revealed the draft budget on Wednesday.
MONEY MAN: The City of Greater Bendigo chief executive Craig Niemann revealed the draft budget on Wednesday.

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Smaller, community-driven projects are the cornerstone of a conservative City of Greater Bendigo budget, which includes marked increases in waste disposal charges.

The city has tightened its financial belt in its draft 2017/18 budget after a mammoth spend last year, with a $221 million budget revealed on Wednesday.

However, it is looking to increase revenue through $26.5m in fees and charges. 

Charge increases include; a 20 per cent hike in the cost of supplying a new organic bin, disposal fees at Eaglehawk Landfill up $5/tonne to $170/t, including a 94 per cent jump in mattress disposal costs at the site. 

Planning application charges to change or allow a new use of land (Class 1), have skyrocketed 147.15 per cent from last year to $1,240.70, however this change is a directive of the state government. 

Daily parking charges are up 30 cents per day in Zone 1 areas, while long day care charges will jump $15 per week. 

Rates and charges will account for 57 per cent of councils overall $192m revenue – up 6 per cent on last year. 

A $58.4 capital works budget includes funding for two new dog parks, in Kangaroo Flat and California Gully, an Eaglehawk regional play space ($800,000) $100,000 toward replacing Sun Loong, and $100,000 for Christmas decorations. 

A further $800,000 will be spent on the Albert Roy pavilion, while the QEO has been a big beneficiary of funding, with $250,000 slated for spectator shelters and $80,000 put towards designing netball change rooms at the facility. 

About $10m of the overall operating costs of $163.3m will be spent on updating and maintaining our regions parks, $11.4m on roads and footpaths, $12.8m on community services, including aged and maternal care, and $6.4m toward capital venue and events.

DOG PARKS: A $58.4 capital works budget includes funding for two new dog parks, in Kangaroo Flat and California Gully, an Eaglehawk regional play space ($800,000).

DOG PARKS: A $58.4 capital works budget includes funding for two new dog parks, in Kangaroo Flat and California Gully, an Eaglehawk regional play space ($800,000).

City of Greater Bendigo's chief executive Craig Niemann said the capital spend had returned to normal levels following a $96m outlay last year. 

“We had to grab those opportunities,” said Mr Niemann, announcing a 2 per cent rate rise for 2017/18 in line with state government rate-capping directions. 

Mayor Margaret O’Rourke said a rate capping environment would make council more reliant on government funding for infrastructure projects. 

Council has budgeted for $8.8m in grants in 2017/18, compared to the $31m it received last year.   

The City of Greater Bendigo has budgeted for an operating surplus of $28.8m in 2017/18. 

Part of the $58.4m capital works budget caters for ongoing funding for big ticket infrastructure projects, including; the Greater Bendigo aquatic and wellbeing centre ($2.5m), Bendigo stadium expansion ($5.7m), Bendigo tennis pavilion construction, Bendigo botanic gardens ($534,000) and the RSL soldiers memorial institute refurbishment ($3.1m).    

The capital works budget will see $2m go towards building new and upgrading and expanding existing footpaths across the municipality.

Across the municipality, $9.2m will go towards renewing sealed roads, $3.2m towards renewing unsealed roads and $3.3m towards maintaining drainage.

The budget will be publicly exhibited for a month on April 22, with submissions considered by council on May 24 before the budget is adopted in June.

Capital works funding 

  • ·         $800,000 for the Albert Roy Pavilion construction
  • ·         $800,000 for the Eaglehawk Regional Playspace
  • ·         New dog parks in Kangaroo Flat ($42,000) and California Gully ($32,000)
  • ·         $100,000 towards the replacement of Sun Loong
  • ·         $100,000 for new Christmas decorations
  • ·         $75,000 for shade sails at Cooinda Park
  • ·         $176,715 for the design of the Bendigo Botanic Gardens visitor hub 
  • ·         $150,000 for the detailed design of the Strathdale Community Centre

Sports facilities funding

  • ·         $300,000 for stage two of the Bendigo Regional BMX Facility redevelopment
  • ·         $325,000 for stage two of the Spring Gully soccer club rooms redevelopment
  • ·         $324,000 for cricket nets at Dower Park
  • ·         $300,000 for netball/tennis courts at Dower Park
  • ·         $75,000 for the design of change rooms at Dower Park in Kangaroo Flat
  • ·         $372,000 for swimming pool maintenance and renewal
  • ·         $1.5M for synthetic pitch replacement at Garden Gully hockey facility
  • ·         $900,000 for track resurfacing at the Flora Hill athletics track
  • ·         $270,000 for tennis/netball court lighting and resurfacing at Strathdale
  • ·         $75,000 for the North Bendigo Recreation Reserve

Playgrounds funding

  • ·         $125,000 for the Derwent Drive playground in Long Gully
  • ·         $80,000 for the Olympic Parade playground in Kangaroo Flat
  • ·         $310,000 for stage three of the Strathdale Park upgrade

Regional/rural funding

  • ·         $125,000 for detailed design for the Raywood Master Plan
  • ·         $60,000 for design of the Redesdale Community Hub
  • ·         $50,000 for the Heathcote Integrated Services Project detailed planning and design
  • ·         $100,000 for Heathcote Court House and Council offices
  • ·         $810,000 for the renewal of Elmore-Barnadown Road (from English’s Road to Ellis Road)
  • ·         $409,500 for renewing Lockington Road (south of Elmore-Mitiamo Road)
  • ·         $10,000 towards mobile phone towers in Mia Mia and Raywood
  • ·         $35,000 towards the implementation of the Rural Communities Strategy
  • ·         $20,000 for the Lake Eppalock Development Plan
  • ·         $300,000 for renewing public toilets in Heathcote

What you will pay more for:

Rate cap

Rate increases will this year be capped to 2 per cent in line with the State Government’s rate cap.

Changes to fees and charges:

Parking in Zone 1 will increase from $1.60/hour and $6/day to $1.70/hour and $6.30/day and in Zone 2 it will increase from 0.80c/per hour and $3.20/day to $1/hour and $3.50/day.

Long day care fees will go from $122.60/day to $125.10/day

The fees to deposit rubbish at the Eaglehawk Landfill will increase from $165/tonne to $170/tonne, and increases to all other charges to dispose of rubbish at landfill sites.

There will be new fees applied to illegal building works on commercial properties.