Mildura Rural City Councillors tonight endorsed the 2023-24 Budget, detailing how Council will continue to fund services and improvements across the municipality while reducing rates for more than 60 percent of property owners.
The Budget endorsed by Councillors tonight followed an amended motion by Cr Mark Eckel to reduce the average rate increase from 3.5% initially proposed to 3%.
Mildura Mayor Liam Wood said the amended motion reflected Councillors’ understanding of cost pressures in the community.
“Whether it’s Councillors or Council staff, we all live and work in this municipality and are subject to the same cost pressures as everyone else at the moment,” Cr Wood said.
“The decision tonight to curb the rate increase to 3% is the most relief we could provide without impacting on our obligation to deliver a fiscally responsible budget that meets our community’s needs.
“While this will put additional pressure on our operational budget in the following financial year, we believe it’s in the best interests of our community in the current economic climate.
“As Councillors making these difficult calls, we, like the rest of our community, need to live with the consequences of our decisions, and I’m confident we made the right decision tonight.”
Cr Wood said the $149 million Budget was among the most challenging in recent years.
“This year’s Budget, more than any in recent memory, has been particularly difficult in the face of constant upward cost pressures over the past 12 months, driven largely by 7% inflation and ongoing flood recovery,” he said.
“At the same time, we needed to ensure this didn’t impact on the services our community expects and deserves, and our ability to continue maintaining and improving infrastructure.
“I’m pleased to say that this year’s Budget has managed to achieve this balance.”
The Budget will ensure Council continues to deliver a broad range of services for the community. These include:
- Supporting more than 1,000 children to enrol in local kindergartens
- Delivering about 215,000 hours of childcare through our Family Day Care Service and Playalong Early Learning Centre
- Administering more than 13,800 immunisations
- Collection of 54,000 kerbside bins each week
Cr Wood said despite the 3% rate increase, the combination of recent changes to rating differentials and a fiscally responsible budget meant most property owners would see a decrease in rates.
Other key features of the 2023-24 Budget include a $41.5 million capital works program to improve and upgrade community assets:
- $12.43 million on buildings and building improvements
- $8.73 million on roads
- $6.93 million on drainage
- $3.22 million on parks, open spaces and streetscapes
- $1.76 million on recreation, leisure and community facilities.
A snapshot of specific projects include:
- Red Cliffs Integrated Early Years facility (dependent on matching funding)
- Nowingi Place Adventure Park
- Nichols point Recreation Reserve sports facility
- Upgrade to the Murrayville Kindergarten
- Lighting upgrade at Henshilwood Recreation Reserve