Draft budget delivers on community vision

The next stages of work to revolutionise Albury’s riverside precinct, major upgrades to roads and footpaths, and significant sporting, environmental and cultural works across the city are just some of the highlights of AlburyCity’s 2019-20 draft budget.

Councillors tonight approved for community comment the draft budget which funds 2,800 expenditure items and contains $58M in capital works programs, with a proposed rates rise for homeowners of 2.7 per cent. That represents an average weekly increase in residential rates payments of about 60 cents a week.

There will be no increase to water, sewerage or kerbside waste collection charges.

Rates on business properties are proposed to rise by 2.2 per cent on average.

AlburyCity Acting Mayor Amanda Cohn said it was a responsible and forward-looking document that will build on projects already under way while also beginning new projects designed to make Albury an even better place to live, work and invest.

"There's something in the draft budget for every part of our community," she said.

"From improvements to our parks and community centres, improving access to our river, upgrades to roads and transport in Lavington and Thurgoona, and sporting facilities across the city, we're planning some really exciting and innovative projects, such as extending the much-loved Wagirra Trail and important environmental projects to protect our river and creeks.

"The next step is the community's opportunity to provide feedback. We'd love to hear your comments to make sure our plans are meeting our community's needs."

Major components of the draft budget include streambank protection works as a precursor to the next stages of works in the Murray River Experience projects that will ultimately include a jetty, boardwalk and other facilities at the riverside precinct behind the Albury Swim Centre. Work will also continue on the  development of the Wonga Wetlands visitor centre.

Other key items include:

  • $15.4M on improvements to our roads and footpaths
  • $16.4M on water and sewerage, including the replacement of water mains across the city and the extension of the mains to Table Top
  • $2.2M for improvements at the Albury Waste Management Centre
  • More than $1M on upgrades of the Albury Entertainment Centre, including designs for an expansion of the convention wing and a new roof
  • $625,000 on improvements at the airport
  • And, $1M to continue the citywide rollout of LED street lighting

There will also be major investment in sports and community facilities, including:

  • $6.75M for the ongoing redevelopment of Lavington Sports Ground
  • $340,000 for terraced seating at the Les O'Brien Athletics Precinct
  • $250,000 for planning of stage 1 upgrades at the Lauren Jackson Sports Centre
  • And, $180,000 on detailed design for the Albury Regional Skate Park

There will be ongoing work on projects funded under the NSW Government’s Stronger Country Communities Fund, with a focus on improvements at Noreuil Park and Monument Hill as well as cultural facilities, while about $2M will be spent on ongoing support for community groups.

The draft budget also ensures Albury remains at the forefront of a changing world with $170,000 allocated to the Smart Communities project, which will include a trial of ‘smart’ bins and state-of-the-art garden watering systems.

AlburyCity General Manager Frank Zaknich said the draft budget works towards delivering on Albury 2030 – the community-driven vision for the city’s long-term social, economic and environmental future.

“This is a draft budget driven by the community, for the community,” he said.

“It responds to extensive feedback on the need for the facilities and services that will serve the community now and for generations to come, and sets a platform for an exciting period of growth in our city over the decades ahead.”

The community is invited to comment on the draft budget. It will go on display from Saturday when it can be seen at the LibraryMuseum, Lavington Library, AlburyCity’s Kiewa Street offices and online.