Council spends up big

April 25, 2018

Capital projects proposed around the Shire in the 2018-2019 Draft Budget.

Moira Shire's strategic objective.

‘‘It is a big sum of money and we have to get it right. The buck stops with us.’’

Those were the words of Cr Ed Cox which ringed around the Civic Centre last Wednesday when Moira Shire Council gathered to run the rule over its 2018-19 draft budget and 2018-22 Strategic Resource Plan.

Mayor Libro Mustica said it was the biggest capital works project in the council’s history.

‘‘We are committing council to deliver its largest ever capital works program with a total of $21.107million of capital works over the next 12 months, almost 50 per cent bigger than the capital works program for the current financial year,’’ Cr Mustica said.

The big tick for Cobram out of the draft budget is the implementation of a visitor services strategy, beginning with a mobile visitor services van and the development of a piazza in the area surrounding the existing Cobram Visitor Information Centre ($1.05million).

The visitor services strategy paves the way for more visitor information points in local businesses and around town, including the existing Visitor Information Centre site, as well as other locations such as Thompsons Beach and Cobram Library.

It proposes to convert the immediate area surrounding the existing Visitor Information Centre into a piazza, while the centre could potentially become a café or similar business to take advantage of the view over Federation Park.

The plan to redevelop the site has been on the cards for some time. It was first proposed in the 2009 Cobram Streetscape Plan.

Moira Shire also has $2million to work with to upgrade and expand courts, pitches, ovals, access, lighting and buildings at community recreation reserves, including the Apex Park soccer pavilion; lighting at Cobram, Nathalia, Numurkah and Yarrawonga sports facilities; and scoping new change rooms at Tungamah.

Interestingly, the Apex Park pavilion is also Cobram’s designated emergency meeting point and the toilet, showers and lighting will be used when an emergency gathering is required.

Moira Shire Council is now seeking community, business and stakeholder feedback following the release of its draft 2018-19 budget and 2018-22 Strategic Resource Plan.

Cr Mustica said both the draft 2018-19 budget and the Strategic Resource Plan aimed to balance the many and often competing needs of the Moira community and the challenges of a relatively small population dispersed across a large geographical area.

‘‘The budget details what we intend to deliver over the next 12 months, the SRP provides an outlook for the next four years — they should be considered together,’’ Cr Mustica said.

‘‘The draft budget will see council continue to deliver more than 100 services throughout the shire along with the largest ever capital works program.’’

Council did not propose new borrowings in the current year.

‘‘Total rate revenue will increase by 2.25 per cent in line with the Victorian Government rate cap and council-set fees and charges will increase by three per cent,’’ Cr Mustica said.

‘‘There will be a decrease in the environmental levy and recycling bin collection charges and an increase in kerbside general waste and organic bin collection charges, but overall service charges will only increase by 2.25 per cent in line with rate capping.

‘‘These changes match the proposals in our draft Rating and Service Charges Strategy, which is also currently out for community feedback.’’

Other key projects in the shire include $5million to maintain and improve the 4000km local road network, particularly the widening of Naring Rd and improvements to Humberstone St, Nathalia; while Yarrawonga will see a $5.4million development of the Lake Mulwala foreshore, design of the Multisport Stadium ($120000) and library ($100000) and a new boat ramp ($740000).

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