Moira Shire councillors have welcomed a balanced budget that’s going to stand council in good stead in the future in a constrained fiscal environment.
Council officially adopted the Moira Shire Council Budget 2017-18 unanimously at a special meeting last Wednesday night.
Council also moved to officially thank all submitters for their detailed and thoughtful contributions to the budget, a sentiment echoed by all appreciative councillors.
Council has allocated $5000 to replace vandalised trees at Cobram’s Scott Oval and committed to maintaining its current funding to MHA Care of $232000, with council to work with the organisation on the funding split between MHA and Foodshare services.
Other projects — including upgraded facilities at Yarrawonga’s JC Lowe Oval, Nathalia Showground and Tungamah Recreation Reserve — will be pursued through future grant opportunities available through outside funding.
Cr Ed Cox said they were some of the best-presented submissions they’d had as a council.
‘‘They’d obviously done their homework and they knew some of these projects they were requesting are not going to happen overnight, but they were prepared to turn around and work with council to tick the box and start the process,’’ Cr Cox said.
‘‘Right across this budget, there is some $10-, $20-, $50- or $80000 projects in our smaller communities as well, we’ve certainly listened to them.
‘‘While they’re not the big issues in a council budget, they’re critically important.’’
Cr Cox noted the capital works program at $10million was slightly less than in previous years, but getting back on an even keel with federal funding was a positive.
‘‘I want this council and the next council to be in a position to turn around a look at some of these multi-million-dollar projects that are going to be there and we can say, ‘we can do this’.’’
Cr Kevin Bourke said council was going to have its challenges moving forward.
‘‘But I do think we’ve done the groundwork, we’ve got the costings planned out with restrictions and the cappings,’’ Cr Bourke said.
‘‘Yes our capital works budget is lower than previous, but I believe it’s been very well managed and moving forward, we’re on the right plan.’’
Cr Libro Mustica said the shire was made up of a diverse mix of townships that would need assistance from time to time.
‘‘I feel the smaller communities within our shire need to be supported and developed more than those already developed,’’ Cr Mustica said.
Cr Peter Lawless said some terrific submissions has resulted in a number of projects being funded.
‘‘We’ve now got $20000 for a study into a Yarrawonga sports stadium and we’ve got $5000 to replace the trees which were vandalised in Cobram,’’ he said.
‘‘We’re also spending $10000 each on the G.R.A.I.N Store in Nathalia and the Yarrawonga Mulwala Arts Council.’’
Cr Peter Mansfield said the reinstatement of funding to MHA Care was fantastic, as under the draft budget, the organisation was set to lose $50000.
‘‘With the dairy industry issue, plus JBS on stand-down for several months, this funding for MHA Care is important to support the critical work they are doing here, especially with the abattoirs, it’s a very important aspect of the shire,’’ he said.
Cr Marie Martin said the budget was a very good one, considering the impacts of rate capping.