Among those projects will be the ongoing works to develop the Riverside Precinct near the Albury Swim Centre, major sports and recreational facilities, new playgrounds and the extension of the Wagirra Trail to create an even more attractive drawcard for cyclists, walkers and nature-lovers.
The draft budget funds 2,700 expenditure items with a rates rise of 2.6 per cent in line with the NSW Government’s rate cap. That rise will represent $29 per year, or 56 cents per week extra, to the average home while at the same time maintaining Council’s ability to continue to deliver high-quality services, programs and facilities to the community.
Importantly, to ease the burden on households and businesses, there will be zero increase to water, sewerage and other charges, while our kerbside Waste Management Charge will be cut by $40 per household.
Coupled with the general rates rise, the waste charge reduction will actually mean households will save about $11 a year on Council rates and charges in 2020-21 compared to last financial year.
Key items of the draft budget include:
- $16.9M on water and sewerage, including the replacement of water and sewer mains across the city and the extension of the mains in Thurgoona
- $10.2M on improvements to our roads and footpaths
- $3.9M for the construction of the Albury Riverside Precinct, and
- $3.3M for improvements at the Albury Waste Management Centre.
Major investments in sports and community facilities will include:
- $2.6M for construction of the Albury Regional Skate Park
- $1.1M for the ongoing redevelopment of Lavington Sports Ground
- $1.1M for the upgrade of change rooms and public toilets at Thurgoona Sportsground
- $1.1M for the construction of the Wonga Wetlands Visitors Education Centre
- $410,000 for the Mungabareena Aboriginal Place Management Plan Implementation Project
- $402,000 for improvements at Greenfield Park
- $400,000 for the Ernest Grant Park Play Space, and,
- $200,000 for the Murray Park Play Space Construction
AlburyCity Mayor Kevin Mack said these projects and others would help to prime the local economy, creating jobs and economic activity that will align to the wider recovery process when the crisis begins to ease.
“We know our community is hurting at the moment with businesses closed indefinitely and families tightening their belts in the face of job losses, which is why we’ve crafted a draft budget that is designed to minimise costs to households while providing a solid foundation of economic activity that will underpin the recovery process,” he said.
“We’re continuing to work closely with other levels of government to help people get the help they need and we’re looking forward to seeing the benefits of our community capital works program flowing into a the impacted local economy.”
Cr Mack said the draft budget also contained a range of measures to reduce costs to businesses, while a special $3M Hardship Relief Program would provide help to those residential ratepayers most impacted by COVID-19.
AlburyCity Chief Executive Officer Frank Zaknich said the draft budget would now be placed on exhibition for the community’s feedback.
“We have some very exciting improvements planned for our city at a time when we’re all struggling through difficult social and economic times, so we’re looking forward to hearing from our community about how our budget can continue to build the best city possible for all of us to enjoy,” he said.
“This draft budget provides help to our community to deal with the immediate pressures of the COVID-19 crisis while focusing strongly on building an even better city in the ‘new normal’ once the emergency is over.”
The draft budget for 2020-21 overall is a surplus, when Water and Sewer are included, but is an operating deficit of $6.6M for the General Fund.
This is made up of a non-cash depreciation expense increase of $2.6M due to the increasing cost to renew infrastructure assets and the measures to assist the community in response to COVID-19.
The draft budget will be on public display on our website and community members are invited to present their feedback.
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