The draft budget handed down at this week's crucial City of Greater Bendigo council meeting has a robust look to it that in many ways belies the COVID-19 environment in which it's been delivered.
Despite calls for a rates freeze from some sections of the community, councillors have voted to impose a two per cent rise - in line with the state government's Fair Go rates policy introduced several years ago.
The comment was made during Wednesday night's jam-packed meeting, without the rise other programs and services would have inevitably been compromised.
It's been said already, this budget would undoubtedly have provided more twists and turns than any other in our post-amalgamation history.
Just when the group of nine councillors, the council executives, and the bean counters probably thought they'd struck the right balance with this year's effort, the coronavirus pandemic upended everything.
It's probably fair to say the subsequent scrutiny of this year's draft budget is arguably more important than ever as well.
The difficulty for all of us is that we have to sign off on a blueprint that needs to reflect the expectations of future performance in a year like no other.
A much anticipated recovery from the current regime of restrictions can't come soon enough, but if it comes too soon, we risk a return to the conditions we are so keen to escape from.
Not only don't we ever want to see restrictions like these again, the reality is we can't afford them either.
The Victorian economy has been held in check by the conservative tactics employed by the state government, and a premier whose steadfast refusal to give in to his critics highlights the concern the past is never far behind us.
No doubt, there's a glimmer of hope that we will emerge from the past few months at a progressively positive rate - and so long as the number of COVID-19 cases don't create any further alarm, that progress cannot come soon enough.
It's been a devastating experience for anyone who has lost a loved one, and for those who have had someone they know and love be struck down by the virus.
Thankfully, for us in Australia, there have been relatively few cases of COVID-19, and even fewer deaths, but any death is still one too many.
It's been a gut wrenching experience for anyone who has either lost their job or had their employment impacted in some other way.
Sadly, this has been the case for a large number of Australians, but as a nation we will forge new ways to work together and restore our economy and our community to whatever the new norm will eventually be.
Next week's resumption of schools is part of that stepped return back to wherever we are headed.
Then, after the June long weekend, students who are not part of the earlier return to school will finally make it back to the classroom, almost three months after the pandemic led to the shutdown of schools and so much else.
At the same time, the decision to abandon this year's Heathcote District Football Netball League highlights just one aspect of the enormity of the task ahead.
It's by no means an insurmountable one, but it will include a lot of difficult decisions and plot twists.
It's likely the HDFNL won't be the only comp to decide it's just too hard to provide for games in a safe and compliant environment for players, officials, volunteers and spectators.
Making some decisions can be difficult at times, but not making them can also be far more troublesome.
So to the decision by Greater Bendigo councillors to back plans for a $90 million GovHub in a newly created civic precinct on the fringes of the central business district.
Now that councillors have made their decision, there needs to be a concerted effort to not just get on with the job, but to work towards a better job.
There has to be room for more support from the state government in the name of post-coronavirus recovery.
Council's own budget papers hint at the potential for future announcements.
We also need greater clarity on the remaining state government employees to be located in the GovHub.
Despite the present gloom of the pandemic, we know our city has much to be positive about in the future.
The looming development boom in the CBD shows the appeal of our city, and the regard in which Bendigo is held.
Hopefully, works start soon on this suite of projects that give us so much to look forward to.
Patience is a virtue...